May Digital Actuality Be the Way forward for Health? – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Price
According to the Centers for Disease Control, only about 20% of Americans get the recommended amount of exercise per week, but researchers say there is a tool out there that has the potential to change that.
According to industry experts, 2019 was the biggest year for sales of virtual reality headsets to date, and many virtual reality games require players to muster a lot of physical energy.
When 28-year-old Martin Calugay buckles on his virtual reality headset, his living room becomes his personal boxing hall.
He says playing sports has been a struggle between a newborn baby and a full-time job as a financial customer service specialist, and since he’s always liked video games, he got a VR headset for Christmas.
Advances in medical technology give critically ill patients the best chance of recovery. This is especially true for babies with congenital heart defects, which often require complex surgeries when babies are only days old.
“I’ve actually lost four pounds since getting this headset!” said Calugay.
The team at the Virtual Reality Institute of Health and Exercise at San Francisco State University have heard countless stories like Calugay’s.
The institute was founded in the school’s kinesiology department three years ago to calculate the types of workouts VR games can offer users.
“We are essentially studying how virtual reality games can be a form of exercise,” said senior investigator and assistant professor of kinesiology, Dr. Jimmy Bagley.
Bored with the same old workout? Virtual Reality gives people the opportunity to mix up their training routine. You can play, go on adventures or just have a little more fun with fitness.
They use a variety of scientific devices to calculate how many calories a player will burn while playing one of the dozen of games on the market.
“We want a really accurate measure, so we’re actually measuring the oxygen you breathe in and the oxygen you breathe out. So without getting technical, let’s look at the calories you burn while playing the game and compare them with walking, jogging or tennis or whatever, “said Bagley.
It does this while the player is immersed in a virtual game where they don’t have time to think about your shape or your calories burned.
Instead, the player focuses on surviving or dominating the game, whether by destroying objects that are coming at him or her or by dodging blows from a virtual reality character in a boxing game.
Virtual reality is used to help addicts. During a therapy session, the headset puts patients in realistic virtual situations that help them overcome triggers of drug and alcohol addiction.
The team has created VR exercise reviews which can be found here.
“This is a game, but also an intense exercise. We hope people will think it’s a game, but practice it as a result,” said project coordinator Trenton Stewart.
The VR fitness trend is hugely popular with entrepreneurs and consumers.
Black Box VR, with locations in California and Idaho, is the world’s first virtual reality gym with full fitness.
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An Austin high school teacher shared a video with NBC 5 of his students showing they were using virtual reality in their exercise class.
The San Francisco research team brings all of this to future projects.
“Now let’s see if people stick with it, whether they’re doing it at home or at the gym. We want to look at older adults, children, people with disabilities, the sky is the limit in this type of research,” said Dr. Bagley.
He notes a couple of downsides. It can lead to motion sickness at first, and the price of a headset can range from $ 100 to $ 1,000.