Virzoom’s VZFit within the Information, as College Examine Reveals VR and Music Improves Train Retention
Virzoom, developer of popular VR bike software VZFit, got a little attention this month with the publication of a double study by Brunel, London and Exeter University on the benefits of virtual reality and music in motivating people in the British Journal of Health Psychology practice drawn to yourself.
Usually, scientific publications and studies are associated with new discoveries and ideas that we were not yet aware of, but here they seem to be at least two or three years behind our readership who are already fully aware of the benefits of virtual reality. Even so, it is encouraging to see the medium officially recognized by the men in white lab coats.
The study, brilliantly titled “Ready Exerciser One: Effects of Music and Virtual Reality on Exercise Bike Exercise,” included a controlled experiment with 24 volunteers on stationary bikes riding in a variety of conditions.
A control group staring at walls
A musical group that still stares at walls but plays songs
A VR group that uses Virzoom’s VZFit to flip through virtual environments
A VR and music group using VZFit with music enabled in the game.
Not surprisingly, experiencing VR with music increased perceived enjoyment by 26.4% compared to the control group, while VR plus music was 17.5% more enjoyable than music alone.
Professor Costas Karageorghis of Brunel University announced the results, saying, “It was quite noticeable how the combination of virtual reality and music increased the sporting enjoyment compared to just music or control conditions.”
“Our results show the great potential for using virtual reality in combination with music to make people more physically active in their own four walls.”
The lead author, Dr. Jonathan Bird of Exeter University agreed, “Participants seemed to enjoy the virtual reality exercise a lot, and the enjoyment increases the likelihood that people will stick to a routine.”
You can read the full paper for yourself here. To be honest, for a study based on increasing fun, it’s quite a tedious read full of technical terms like valence, affective variables, and omnibus analysis, but Robert Collins of Virzoom gave me this simple colored table that sums it up nicely .
In their concluding summary, the authors of the paper write: “The current results provide indications that audiovisual stimuli that are administered via modern VR headsets can contribute to promoting a pleasant training experience. This is based on the results of several dependent variables as the technology-mediated exercise was associated with more positive affective value, greater perceived activation, more dissociative thoughts, and higher ratings of post-exercise enjoyment. It is noteworthy that the above effects were observed not only in comparison with the control condition but also in comparison with the music condition. There is evidence that suggests a relationship between exercise-related effect and compliance (Ekkekakis et al., 2018; Williams et al., 2016). In addition, researchers were encouraged to consider how the technology could lay the groundwork for interventions designed to encourage regular engagement in physical activity (Lewis et al., 2017). Accordingly, modern VR technology should be viewed by health psychologists and sports practitioners as a useful tool for providing a comfortable training experience. “
A solid endorsement of VR fitness
This recommendation that VR technology should be viewed by healthcare providers as a useful tool in making exercise more enjoyable is an encouraging development. For anyone who has used it, VR is clearly an excellent medium to exercise. Virtual reality offers a full sense of presence and immersion that allows even the most confident exerciser to quickly forget about their surroundings and can even help with pain management as the immersive game worlds help keep a person’s focus from their own body and much more to deal with what’s going on around you.
Towards the end of last year, I interviewed Katie Hoolahan, CEO of Virtually Healthy, who was doing her own research into developing VR exercise programs for fitness, rehabilitation and therapy. She had discussions with her local NHS Trust and universities about doing research on her programs after she finished her research, and studies like this will hopefully serve as additional leverage for creative startups like Katie to discover the value of virtual reality as such, to demonstrate an instrument to help people exercise more consistently, with a higher retention rate than conventional means.
Virzooms VZFit in action
I have been avidly using Virzoom’s VZFit since October last year and can confidently attest that it is more fun to exercise. To give you a clearer idea of what the study would actually have been like, I recorded a 30-minute drive of my own and drove through the beautiful scenery of Colorado Highway 128.
VZFit recently added licensed music to its Explorer app courtesy of Feed.fm. You can currently choose between three stations: modern pop, classical hits and electronic dance music. Hopefully there is a rock channel on the way, but I picked modern pop for this ride.
The video doesn’t do justice to the feeling of presence and immersion in the headset, time flies by, and with the recently added radio function, I can happily ride long periods of time, at least until my bits go numb from the saddle, VR still has no cure found …
How do i try this
If you want to try out VZFit, the set up process is pretty straightforward. You need a stationary bike (anyone will) and a third-party bluetooth cadence sensor. You can buy a sensor on eBay for around $ 25. I recommend an IGPSport C61 cadence sensor as the cheapest entry point.
After that you will of course need a compatible VR headset, i.e. either an Oculus Quest or an Oculus Go. Yes, that’s right, the VZFit works perfectly with a headset under $ 200!
You can try VZFit for free by creating a Virzoom account on the website. The full service costs $ 9.99 per month or $ 99.95 per year, but Virzoom offers a free version with a rotating game and a rotating Explorer ride per month. So it’s worth downloading and trying out even if you don’t intend to take up a monthly subscription.
With the sensor, you can also try out Holodia’s Holofit, which works with elliptical trainers and rowing machines as well as bicycles and is also compatible with PC VR headsets.
If you have a home cardio exercise machine, a Bluetooth cadence sensor is a great accessory.
Now it’s official, VR helps exercisers stay motivated, reduces pain awareness, and encourages aspiring fitness enthusiasts to train longer. If you haven’t tried the VR fitness revolution, now may be time to get started …
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