VR for Health: Campaign Begins To Rate Calorie Burning VR Games

The Virtual Reality Institute of Health and Exercise is rating VR titles by how they compare to traditional forms of exercise.

The long-lived stereotype of the person that plays videogames is that of someone who is unfit. A number of unflattering epithets such as ‘couch potato’ are often invoked alongside this assumption. The rise of motion controllers began to shift attitudes, but can virtual reality (VR) really help you to get fit and stay healthy? The Virtual Reality Institute of Health and Exercise is aiming to find out.

VR products such as VirZOOM have gone some way towards promoting the idea that VR can be used as an aid towards exercise and health, along with other energetic titles such as Sparc and Sprint Vector. The Virtual Reality Institute of Health and Exercise has created a tool called The VR Exercise Ratings, which rates VR experiences and compares them to more traditional and well-know exercises, such as walking or riding a bike.

“Many of the games we’ve assessed have turned out to be the equivalent of very vigorous exercise,” says Dr. Marialice Kern, lead VR researcher and the Chair of the Kinesiology department at San Francisco State University. “At the same time, we’ve observed that participants often don’t realize how much effort they’re actually exerting. They’re expending energy with less awareness of the pain of doing it.”

“I believe that virtual reality is going to change what it means to go to the gym,” says Aaron Stanton, director and founder of the VR Health Institute. “Our goal is to help quantify which games may be the most useful as part of a healthy lifestyle. For those of us that simply suck at traditional exercise, like me, the diversity and engagement of VR is a game changer. I now believe that I will live longer and be fitter because I’m a gamer, not in spite of it.”

The VR Exercise rating can be found on the VR Health Institute website, where further details about the institute and its campaign can also be found.

VRFocus will continue to report on new initiatives and campaigns related to VR.

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