Thanks to VR you can now have great workouts and stay in shape without having to go to overcrowded gyms. By using virtual reality you can burn calories and have fun at the same time. VR fitness is the perfect solution for those who want to train at home but don’t like to get on a boring treadmill or an exercise bike. It’s an excellent way to train your stamina, reflexes, and even strength, when done properly.
Here are the best VR fitness tips for beginners, that will help you in keeping you and your hardware safe, breaking a sweat, and making your workouts as effective as possible, so you can burn through calories and enjoy your VR training.
#1 – Create enough space for your workout
Your first step in getting started with VR fitness should be to create a safe training area where you can move around without having to worry about knocking into objects or hitting walls. 10×6.5ft (3x2m) free space would be perfect. This might require you to move some furniture, but it makes sidesteps and dodging for a full body workout possible.
Once the area is prepared and you have adequate space, set up your boundaries accordingly in your VR headset. They will be shown whenever you come close to your playspace borders. In case the software of your headset automatically rotates your playspace or you just want to have another center or direction to look at when playing Steam games, get OVR Advanced Settings. It’s a great SteamVR extension that makes recentering or rotating your playspace utterly simple.
#2 – Get some VR covers
Just like in the gym, you should keep your equipment clean and sanitary so you can enjoy it for years to come. Especially when it comes to VR headsets it’s important to prevent sweat from getting onto the device. Your sweat won’t damage your headset, according to VR Fitness Insider, but the headset will become unpleasant to use. Especially when you are not the only user. VR replacement covers are the perfect solution to soak up that sweat and keep your headset in perfect shape. They are available for every major VR headset and often come in packs of two. You can wash and even sterilize some of them.
#3 – Wear a bandana or a sweatband as alternative
As an alternative to VR covers or even as addition, you can wear a bandana or a sweatband. These will also keep your sweat from dripping onto your VR headset.
#4 – Put a fan in front of your playspace
Your headset might become foggy during longer VR sessions. To avoid that fogginess, put a fan in front of your playspace pointing right at your face. It’s amazing how much a slight airflow can help to keep a clear vision.
#5 – Get VR games that were designed for fitness
Now that you and your equipment are ready to go, get some great VR fitness games. The wonderful thing about these games is that you can actually forget that you are working out while having fun in-game.
Some rhythm games like Beat Saber can be used for VR fitness, as they are fun and keep you moving. But if you want to have a more intense experience, get VR games that were specifically designed with fitness in mind like Thrill of the Fight, BoxVR, or our own game, PowerBeatsVR. PowerBeatsVR will not only train your upper body, but your legs as well, as you will have to box, dodge, and squat during intense, fast-paced action. VR Fitness Insider listed it as one of the “Best High Intensity VR Fitness Games 2020“. So, check it out and also see the list for other great games!
#6 – Warm-up properly and stay hydrated
VR fitness games are a fantastic way to get in shape without going to the gym. But you should handle it like a workout in the gym, which means executing a proper warm-up before: Do some dynamic stretching, followed by jumping jacks or a few easy rounds in your favorite VR fitness game before progressing to more advanced workouts.
When working out in VR it’s easy to lose track of time and get dehydrated. Make sure to take breaks in between rounds and drink some water. It’s essential that your body stays hydrated to get the best training effect.
#7 – Track your progress
The best way to stay motivated is by tracking your progress and seeing what you have achieved so far. Most VR fitness games have some built-in calories tracker and can show you your overall workout duration. A few games, like PowerBeatsVR, can also connect to Bluetooth and ANT+ heartrate monitors and track your heartrate in-game as well.
If your favorite VR fitness game doesn’t provide you with any of these options, you can always use a wearable device, that counts your steps, estimates your burned calories, or even measures your heartbeat, like the Apple Watch or a fitbit. Another option is to use YUR, which enables fitness tracking across any VR game. It estimates calories, tracks your metrics, and has optional support for Bluetooth heart rate monitors.
#8 – Be careful with wrist/ankle weights
You have probably read recommendations about using wrist/ankle weights in VR. But, what seems to be a good idea, puts you at serious risk of injury, when not used with proper form. So, be careful with them or, better, don’t use them at all when playing games with fast wrist movements! They put way too much stress on your joints, tendons, and cartilages. You can read more about this here.
#9 – Try a resistance band kit for kickboxing
The better alternative to wrist weights is using a resistance band kit that was primarily created for kickboxing training, like the one in the image below. The bands will apply additional resistance to all your movements, which results in excellent strength training.
#10 – Wear a weighted vest to intensify your VR workouts
If you want to make your VR workouts even more intense, wear a weighted vest to put more load on your legs. With a weighted vest, you will certainly feel the squats and sidesteps the day after. We recommend starting with 11lbs (5kg) and working your way up over time, once your body has adapted to the additional load.
#11 – Combine VR fitness with some bodyweight exercises
VR fitness is fantastic to train your stamina and your reflexes and it will also strengthen your body, especially shoulders, triceps, chest, upper back, and your legs. But there are some muscles, such as biceps and abs, that get considerably less attention due to the nature of possible movements in VR. Some VR fitness games might claim otherwise. However, add some pull ups and core exercises to make your VR workout a well balanced full-body workout.
#12 – Recover properly
Like in any other sport, recovery between intense VR workouts is key to success. Your body needs time to adapt. Try to sleep 7-8 hours each night and rest at least for one day a week. Providing your body with enough protein will also help in building up muscles and recovering faster.
And now it’s time to get started and burn some calories! If you like to add further tips to that list, leave a comment below.