Everyone on the internet seems to be excited about artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR). VR specifically has changed how people think about workouts and going to the gym. As someone who has tried both, one is better than the other.
A VR workout should not replace visiting the gym, nor can it help you exercise in the same way going to the gym can. A gym has equipment that helps you target specific areas of your body, weights that give you more resistance, and tracks and treadmills for cardiovascular workouts.
There are pros and cons to using a VR headset, and times when it can be helpful even if it does not replace the gym. Keep reading to learn more about when VR workouts might be helpful and when to just go to the gym.
When Not to Use a VR Workout
If your goal is to burn more than a couple hundred calories, stick with the gym workout instead of relying on a VR workout. The gym is best for muscle building, cardio workouts, equipment-assisted routines, and working out with friends.
One of the biggest failings in a VR-only workout is that VR workouts only let you use your body weight. You cannot even use dumbbells with most VR setups because you have to hold the VR controllers with both hands. If you are looking to grow your strength, using dumbbells like this set, can help you grow your strength more effectively. Most gyms offer weight machines, dumbbells, and other weight-lifting equipment to make your visit very beneficial.
Cardio workouts are also another important aspect of your health. If you are looking to grow your cardio, biking, running, or swimming would be more helpful than a VR workout. Gyms offer treadmills, stationary cycles, and sometimes pools that help you reach your cardio goals. VR headsets are not safe to go running or biking with and do not often elevate your heart rate as much as a cardio exercise does.
VR workouts also do not let you work out with friends very easily unless you and your friend both have VR headsets and do the same workout. One benefit of going to the gym is being able to have a gym body that helps you stay motivated in meeting your fitness goals. If you do choose to work out with a friend while you both use VR, be cautious to have plenty of space between you and your friend so you do not bonk each other!
How to Improve Your Gym Workouts
If you are looking to improve your gym workouts or alter how you do it, there are plenty of options instead of replacing your workouts with VR.
One great option is a personal trainer. This is especially good if you are struggling to get enough out of your workouts. They will be able to help you meet your fitness goals and make sure that you are doing the correct movements, which VR cannot do.
There is a large range of costs for personal trainers, but the average is about 50 dollars per hour. VR sets range from 300 dollars an hour to 1000 dollars. This means that if you do not buy a VR and instead use a personal trainer, you have anywhere between 6 and 20 visits with your trainer!
Doing some research on routines and workouts can also help you have more beneficial workouts. This research includes defining your fitness goals. Here are three common steps to getting a good routine going at the gym.
- Determine why you are going to the gym and determine your fitness goals.
- Decide how many days a week you are going to the gym and when you want your recovery days to be.
- Use a book or videos to get some workouts that support your motivations and help you meet your goals.
Understanding why you are motivated to work out and go to the gym is very important. It can be general health, or growing your strength. Narrow that into a SMART goal. For example, a motivation to go to the gym can be getting faster at running, and a goal can be running a 9-minute mile.
Using a VR Workout for Classes
One thing that a VR workout might be able to replace is going to in-person classes for things like Zumba, yoga, or even spin classes if you have a stationary cycle at home. This does depend on what classes you are doing and what your specific VR offers in the way of fitness classes and apps. Each VR headset varies in its fitness offerings.
If you are looking for something fun and low-intensity, similar to gym classes, there are fitness games on most VR headsets. Instead of offering classes the games have you move your body or meet certain fitness goals to progress in the game.
The goal of VR workouts is to get your body moving, your heart rate up, but also for you to have fun. They are not meant to be high-intensity workouts like going to the gym.
Using a VR for Warming Up
VR can help you improve your overall health and fitness! Many VR classes, workouts, and games are meant to get your body moving and your heart rate elevated. This is also one of the important aspects of warming up for a longer, more intense workout. You can use a VR workout or game at your house before you leave to run or bike around your town. You can also warm up at home before heading to the gym — this will be the most effective if your gym is not far from your home.
You can also use a VR headset at your gym if you can find a private and large space where you are not in danger of hitting anyone while you have your headset on.
If you do choose to use VR to warm up be sure to stretch too, not just get your heart rate elevated. You should stretch after you have warmed up, but you can stretch before and after if you are particularly stiff.