I have never understood people who enjoy exercise.
You know the type (heck, maybe you are the type) — the person who’s always on their way to or from the gym, who passed physical fitness tests in P.E. class with flying colors, who speak all too fondly of their miles-long morning runs.
If you are this person, I promise it’s not that I specifically dislike you — I just don’t get it. I don’t understand why a morning workout is more appealing than staying in bed. I don’t understand how you plan the whole workout + shower + clothes issue. Do you shower multiple times a day? Wear multiple sets of clothes? Do your makeup and then take it off and then redo it? Moreover, how do you genuinely get your brain to get your body to get off the freakin’ couch and go move?
The answers to these questions still evade me, and likely always will. But since I genuinely want to exercise more, I started looking for brain hacks that would help. And that’s when I came to a crucial, life-changing realization:
I’ll do anything for a good video game.
Emily In The Metaverse
I know, I know, I know. Stop judging me, I’ve judged myself enough already.
Look, I have my qualms with the whole Metaverse thing (or, as I not-so-affectionately call it, the Zuckerverse). I don’t want a virtual life so expansive that it distracts from the real one, and I don’t think digital friendships can ever replace real ones. But at the same time, virtual reality is just so damn cool, especially if you already love video games.
So when I saw a video of a friend doing a VR workout, it clicked — this was the thing to get me to exercise, once and for all.
The download is free, and the subscription is $20/month — far cheaper than the gym, and WAY worth it, IMO.
I’m happy to say I was sold after a single workout. So sold, in fact, that I immediately followed my first sweat sesh with another sweat sesh.
The premise of Supernatural is pretty simple. Each workout takes you through different songs, and your objective is to hit all the targets during that song with either your boxing gloves or lightsabers (yes, really). You’ll also have to squat through these triangles that appear on screen. There are different intensity options — low, medium, and high — and even the low ones still find me super sweaty at the end!
Supernatural isn’t only about that HIIT, though — it also includes meditation and stretching practices. And, I haven’t even mentioned that each routine you do takes place in gorgeous places around the world! I spent my first workout so entranced by the scenery that I really didn’t do a great job at the actual workout part.
Why Should You Try VR Workouts?
As to why I think VR workouts finally got me to exercise (and why they might work for you, too), here are a few reasons:
The immersive setting: I’m not doing a workout in my bedroom or a crowded gym. Rather, I’m kicking ass in the Himalayas or by a waterfall in Iceland. The visual stimulation as well as the truly immersive feel of the VR world keep me from getting bored, and the time honestly flies.
Easy access: As long as I’m not in jeans, there are very few steps between me and a good workout — all I have to do is pop on a headset. I don’t even have to put on shoes or go outside. Hell, I don’t even have to roll out a yoga mat. I know this is a super small thing, but I realized that reducing the amount of things I have to do to get ready to exercise is crucial to actually sticking to it.
Music & Rhythm: Supernatural has playlists for everyone, whether you like electronic, country, classical, rock, oldies, or any other genre under the sun. And they do a great job of syncing your workout to the rhythm of the song, so I almost feel like a participant in the music-making. A fun feel for sure, and one that stands in stark contrast to a lot of dance videos I tried to work out to, that were basically just exercises to a song playing in the background.
It’s competitive without being embarrassing: I hated the gym because I was so self-conscious every time I’d go in. I’m not coordinated and I don’t know how the hell to use half those machines, and even though I know nobody was really judging me, it was always hard to shake that paranoia. But at the same time, I’m crazy competitive! Supernatural has leaderboards where you can compete for the top spot among your friends, and it keeps track of your stats during each workout. So, every time you work out is just a chance to outdo your last one!
Other VR Fitness Games
I was (and still am) beyond thrilled to have found my workout motivation. So of course I didn’t let it stop at Supernatural!
Here are a few other VR fitness games I love:
1. Beat Saber
Y’all, I love Beat Saber. If the above video freaked you out, don’t worry – there are easier difficulty levels than the one she’s doing. The premise is similar to Supernatural — hitting targets with sabers — but Beat Saber has much more of a “drummer”/music game feel rather than being specifically a workout. You’ll work up a sweat either way!
2. Super Hot
I spend hours playing this game and I always end it absolutely drenched. In Super Hot, the goal is to kill all these glass red men (either by punching them, shooting them, or throwing objects at them) before they kill you. The catch? Time only moves when you move. So as long as you stay still, time is still – giving you ample time to plan your next move. I love the blend of good strategy and maneuvering required to win the game. Sometimes I end up holding a squat for ages just to figure out how to dodge the next bullet!
3. Thrill Of The Fight
I knew boxing was a great workout, but I didn’t know that boxing in VR was also a great workout. I sweat every time I play this game, no matter how many matches I do. Mostly, though, I love this game because it utilizes your fight-or-flight instinct — you bet I’m going to fight like hell if someone’s about to punch me!
There are plenty of other workout games for the Oculus Quest 2; in fact, VR in its very nature encourages exercise, because most of the games require you to be up and moving around. So yes, I’ve finally found motivation (and desire!) to work out. And yes, it’s in the Metaverse.
But hey — if it worked for me, it might work for you, too.
Have you tried VR workouts before? What are your favorite Oculus workout games? Tell us in the comments below!
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