In the final days of 2020, Oculus quietly released a fitness tracker called the Oculus Move that lives inside Quest headsets. Users who download the software can view calories burned in virtual reality as well as minutes of physical activity by climbing a ticker that floats above or below their field of vision. With a deeper dive into the tracker dashboard, they can also set goals and track their progress over time.
The Move seems to be an acknowledgment by Oculus that fitness is the main reason so many people use VR. This is definitely the case for me. I’m not a big gamer in general, but for the last couple of months I’ve been training in virtual reality almost every day. And despite what you might think about the incompatibility of video games and exercise, this is serious training. Some end with me choking and squeezing sweat out of my beard.
In that sense, virtual reality has saved me from physical neglect. It helped me understand the motivation that threatened to slip through my fingers from the start of this godforsaken pandemic.
Traditionally, if you wanted to work out, you could join a gym or run around the block.
But now newcomers have another high-tech option that helps some of them get off the couch and move around at home instead of risking walking out the door.
“I’m the laziest person you’ve ever met,” says 45-year-old Amanda Bousfield from Toronto. “It didn’t make sense for me to play sports. Theoretically, I knew I should have done it, but I didn’t want to. But I got City Run VR to do some jogging at home, and it really changed the way I approached sports and fitness in generally forever”.
The stay-at-home mom has struggled with weight all her life and says she felt “mentally broken” when she tried something new about a year ago:
Fitness in virtual reality.