Train Your Thoughts- The Advantages of VR Health on the Mind
Virtual reality itself has many benefits for the mind and body. Now let’s take a look at how exercise generally helps our minds. It has been proven that standing up and moving around has a profound effect on how we process information. After all, we have only recently evolved the world to enable a more sedentary life as a human. Not so long ago we lived in the wild and led a very hand-to-mouth existence. We were constantly moving, and as a result, we were constantly exercising our bodies and, without really knowing it, our minds as well. Here are just a few examples of how exercise increases the functionality of our brain.
Increase Blood Flow!
It probably won’t come as a surprise to many people, but exercise increases blood flow to our entire body. This in turn means that our brains literally become “smarter”. Our brain uses approximately 15% of our body’s total blood supply at any one time. When you consider that our brain is only about 2% of our total mass, you can see why that is a sizable percentage. Our brain is made up of sensors that decode electrical impulses called neurons. Because our brains use these neurons, they need a lot of oxygen to function. Our brain receives oxygen from our lungs through blood vessels. When these neurons work, the blood flow to these areas increases and the brain has plenty of O2.
As we exercise, our bodies naturally increase the blood flow through our bodies. This ensures that all of our parts have what they need to keep us going. This causes our brains to respond by creating more blood vessels. This allows neurons to function better and have access to their much-needed oxygen supply. As we exercise, we build our brains ability to function better. Exercising also helps preserve the blood vessels that are already there. This ensures that they can send blood around the body to sustain our existence and promote better overall health.
When you exercise with virtual reality, you can focus less on the exercise and focus more on the fun of enjoying a game or experience. This makes it a lot easier to make virtual reality fitness a part of your normal routine. Gone are the days when video games were damn “bad for your mind”. Welcome to the future where video games can help stimulate your body and mind through exercise. Not to mention the other cognitive benefits gained while gaming. So if you play a few rounds in Thrill of the Fight VR boxes or do a few routines in BoxVR, not only can you shorten your waistline, but you can “puff up” your brain as well. Who says video games are a waste of time?
We found out how exercise can improve the functioning and growth of our neurons. This allows our brains to grow and maintain a functional size. Lack of exercise has been linked to a decrease in the mass of our brains. In particular, the regions responsible for the storage facility. This is especially true for the elderly. Just six months of exercise, even with less exertion, has increased brain volume and helped people regain their functional memory.
The hippocampus is the area in our brain from which our memory comes from. Since we are more or less designed to move a lot, this area of our brain can actually shrink due to inactivity. It has been shown that walking alone can help enlarge our hippocampus and therefore increase our ability to function cognitively correctly. Truly any aerobic exercise that increases the heart rate helps our memory that both young and old people have proven through a number of studies.
It’s also important to note that exercise helps prevent dementia, not just a little. There are many factors that can cause dementia in a person, and much of how it will develop in people is uncertain. What is certain is that people who exercise reduce their risk of developing dementia by 31%.
Virtual Reality Fitness is almost purely aerobic. Of course, there has been some progress in incorporating strength training into VR exercises. For the most part, it’s almost all about increasing blood flow to the body. Of course, it’s not just exercise that stimulates good memory. Games have been shown to help improve people’s ability to get information quickly. Saving patterns in games like Beat Saber will help you get a higher score. It also trains your brain to process and retrieve information instantly. Participants in studies of virtual reality and its relationship to storage have shown that those who use virtual reality see an 8% increase in their overall storage performance.
Decrease overall stress
Stress affects the whole body and also has a very negative effect on our brain. Stress hormones are good when we need them. For example, when we are faced with a fight or flight situation. Most of us don’t face these regularly. Sedentary lifestyle increases the levels of stress hormones in the body. According to a Harvard study on exercise and stress:
The mental benefits of aerobic exercise are neurochemical. Exercise reduces the level of the body’s own stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural pain relievers and mood enhancers. Endorphins are responsible for the “runner’s high” and for the feeling of relaxation and optimism that comes with many hard workouts – or at least for the hot shower after training. (Harvard)
This helps stave off depression and anxiety, which, if left unchecked, can lead to a whole host of other problems. Like inability to rest or sleep. It can also cause irritability, and for some it can even lead to higher blood pressure. We always had the ability to lower our stress hormone levels. We just have to train!
Virtual reality has the added benefit of taking us out of the exercise and putting us in an immersive experience. As we focus on the immersive experience, we often lose track of time and effort. However, the benefits of VR aren’t limited to the physical realm. Studies have shown that VR alone helps reduce stress:
After two decades of intensive research, VR has established itself as a powerful tool for treating a wide variety of psychological and behavioral problems. Controlled studies in particular have already shown that this technology increases the effectiveness and efficiency of the most traditional relaxation techniques. (RelaxVR)
Exercise is good for the body and does a lot for our brain. Training in virtual reality gives us many more benefits and access to even more benefits than traditional training alone. So the next time you put your headset on, you’re doing your brain a favor. As much as you are your body.
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