Health & Fitness in AR & VR: The Best Apps for Mind and Body
VR and AR can offer some helpful apps and videogames to help users feel fitter and healthier.
For many years, videogames have been painted as an unhealthy pursuit, having been given connotations of a sedentary lifestyle and lumped in with the ‘couch potato’ stereotype. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) go some ways towards tackling this idea, with many apps and videogames promoting a more healthy ad active approach.
Developer Survios is probably best known for its work on VR shooter Raw Data, but the team has recently produced a fast-paced action multiplayer named Sprint Vector. The title uses a system called ‘Fluid Locomotion’ to allow player avatars to move, which involves holding the motion controllers and swinging your arms as if you were running. Timing becomes critical as players learn to run, jump, glide and shoot through the twelve courses, working up a sweat and having fun.
Keep a tight grip on your controller in another physical action title, this time from EVE: Valkyrie developer CCP Games. Sparc has a simple premise, is that you are taking part in a futuristic form of squash or racquet ball where players must throw a ball at an opponent, and conversely block or dodge the projectiles thrown at you. All actions must be performed physically, physically throwing or blocking in a way that quickly becomes pulse-pounding, especially once you start making your way through the multiplayer.
As we move into spring and the weather becomes more pleasant, it is likely that Pokemon Go players will begin to appear again, exploring parks, gardens and streets to catch the elusive creatures. To hatch some of the rarer Pokemon, one of the best ways is to do some walking with an egg in an incubator, encouraging some gentle exercise for those who might be unable to handle some of the faster-paced titles, such as Sparc or Sprint Vector.
In a world that is increasingly hectic and stressful, its good to take a break and relax for a while. VR allows people to seclude themselves away from the real world for a while, and apps such as MindVerse allows users to enter a more soothing environment.
MindVerse is available for free on Oculus Rift and features several exercises to help relax or train the brain away from stress, with beautiful environments and soothing music.
Guided Meditation VR
For users of mobile VR such as the Samsung Gear VR who wish to have a portable method of relaxation, Guided Meditation VR is available. The app allows users to relax in beautiful, exotic environments across the globe. Guided Meditation VR has undergone clinical trials to help people suffering from stress and anxiety. Guided Meditation VR contains 25 lessons in different types of meditation is is available for free for Samsung Gear VR users from the Oculus Store.
Black Box VR
Created by the fitness experts behind Bodybuilding.com, Black Box VR has been designed as more than just another adrenaline-fueled action/physical VR title. Instead, it’s a full gym workout where the more reps your perform, the more powerful your avatar becomes, with each rep firing off an attack against a virtual opponent.
For those looking to get fit who might have a bit more money to burn, The VirZOOM peripheral might be an option. The VirZOOM is a kind of exercise bike that interfaces with VR systems in order to let users control the action using the pedals and handlebars. There’s a version of VirZOOM available for HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR. A number of titles are compatible with the VirZOOM system, and seven bundled titles come with the system itself.