It’s hard to believe that back in 2012 Luckey launched its Kickstarter campaign for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, and here we are nine years later and VR gameplay is still booming. I, myself, just recently joined the VR tribe and am loving it! As an avid PlayStation gamer, I never really thought about dabbling in the virtual world. But on her return trip home from California, my mom surprised me with an amazing new way to enjoy video games — the Oculus Quest 2.
Now, I have to admit I was skeptical about immersing myself in a virtual world, but it didn’t take long for my skepticism to melt away. I quickly found myself having an absolute ball playing Beat Saber, a virtual reality rhythm game in which the player delves into a surrealistic neon environment where they slice colorful cubes representing musical beats. As I sliced and danced my way to victory, it quickly dawned on me that playing virtual reality is not only a good time but a great way to stay fit and active without having to leave the comfort of home.
The Health Benefits of Playing VR
1.) Great Source of Exercise
Cardio and strength training are not the only viable ways to insert a little exercise into your daily routine. Playing certain virtual reality games can also help you increase your exercise. Certain games like The Thrill of the Fight, Virtual Boxing League, Sprint Vector, and even Beat Saber can impart to you the health benefits of exercise without you having to set foot in a gym.
Just in case you have forgotten, here are some of the top health benefits of exercising:
- Increases blood flow and decreases chances of stroke
- Improves memory and thinking ability
- Combats decline in brain function with age
- Helps protect against developing Alzheimer’s disease
- Fights osteoporosis and reduces chances of a hip fracture
- Helps manage arthritis discomfort and maintains joint range of motion
- Strengthens muscles
- Tones skin
- Reduces your weight
- Improves your sexual performance
- Enhances your quality of sleep
- Boosts your mood
2.) Elevates Learning & Intellect
Why sit in a stuffy class or read a boring book when you can dive into a mentally-stimulating alternate reality? With games like Star Chart, Public Speaking VR, Apollo 11 VR, Earth AR, Anatomy VR, and Discovery VR students can expand their minds, dig deep into their interests, learn new skills, express their creativity, and develop useful skills. With virtual reality, you can bring learning to life.
3.) Promotes Relaxation
In today’s world, people are under a lot of stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety can be detrimental to your physical, mental, and emotional health, so it is crucial to find a productive and positive way to release the stress and find a place of peace and serenity. Virtual reality is one such outlet. Applications such as Tripp promote mental health and wellness through reflection and meditation. There are also apps for yoga and tai chi that can help you reduce stress and tension through stretching and purposeful movement.
If you prefer to get rid of stress in a more vigorous fashion, games like Saints & Sinners may be for you. Take out your aggression on the hoards of the undead in the post-apocalyptic city of New Orleans. As you fight to stay alive, scavenge to survive, and strategize to form alliances you will feel your troubles fall away.
4.) Aids in Productivity
Being productive is an essential part of daily life. If you feel unproductive, you can slip into bouts of anger or depression. On the other hand, if you feel productive you can enjoy a sense of satisfaction, self-worth, and accomplishment. Virtual reality can help you become more productive. Apps such as Noda, Gravity Sketch, Mondly, and MeetinVR can help you stay on task at work and at home. This allows you to feel successful and make more time for activities and people who mean the most to you.
While virtual reality may not seem like a healthy activity on the surface, in actuality it can take your health and wellness to new heights. As the years comes to a close and a new one looms in the near future, take time to consider adding VR to your health and wellness routine.