Some benefits of group fitness offered in virtual reality
The busy people and travellers
One of the great advantages of VR is the location independence. For people who do not have the time or are on the go a lot, vr group fitness classes offers a great advantage. For the busy people, it saves time by no need to go to the fitness center. Because it is a worldwide offer, you can train at different times in contrast to most local fitness center offers.
For travellers, it offers the opportunity to take part in the common, known group, even though one is on the way because it is not tied to a specific location. With the VR glasses Oculus Quest you have VR equipment that fits in very well in your luggage and is easy to use anytime and anywhere.
Global group training
People from all over the world can take part in a course together. It promotes solidarity and diversity in a course. It also offers the opportunity for people living abroad to participate in courses in their home country. This can reduce homesickness and promote a bond with home.
Participants from other countries can also experience and empathize with mentality of a country. You can prepare for a visit of this country. It can also be a good exercise for foreign language learners because it is like being in this country and attending a fitness course.
Participating more easily in trial training
You have less of a hurdle to take part in a new course in VR because you are basically anonymous. It offers a simple option for those who would like to do a trial training session but ultimately don’t do so or keep postponing it. The decision to join a course can also be taken very spontaneously. Several courses per week can also be tried out. Visit one of our free courses when you get the chance.
Various offers for occasional athletes
Athletes who want to try out new things or who like to use a varied fitness training program offer courses in the virtual world as an easy way to do it. Although the offer is still manageable at the moment, in the future it will be easy to take spontaneously part in a wide variety of courses.
Social contacts before and after the course
One advantage compared with individual training is that you can talk to each other before and after the course. It promotes social interaction and social time with other people.
A group lesson can also be a meeting point for friends instead of going jogging together or alike. You can chat and do active VR fitness. It’s a more physically demanding alternative to walking.
Large selection of offers
In the future there will be a large selection of offers that can be visited. No one is depending anymore on the offer of a fitness center or the region. In principle, all virtual group fitness classes offers can be visited and much more offers. Even a niche fitness offers more possibilities to attact visitors than in reality.
Unlimited number of participants
There is a limited number of participants for a course, but the course can be divided into different levels / rooms and broadcast synchronously. In this way, unlimited participants can take part in a course.
Carefree being casual dressed and no unpleasant smells
In virtual reality, in contrast to the real group courses, it doesn’t matter how you are dressed. You can train in pajamas or other clothing, nobody sees you. Likewise, the teeth do not have to be brushed or hair styled.
Unpleasant body odors do not bother the other participants either, it is also possible to fart unabashedly. Especially in yoga courses, in which the body posture and loosening up farts, which is natural but uncomfortable for one or the other, is no longer a problem in VR.
Workout for the elderly
One study looked at the effects on the mental health of older people of exercising with other people. The study was carried out on people between the ages of 55 and 90. A group trains together as a group. The control group only workout alone. The results showed that both had significant improvements in mental health. However, the group that trained together showed a significant increase in mental health, overall quality of life, life satisfaction, and perceived exertion. Group exercise provides these older people with an opportunity for social interaction and connection that is missing when doing exercises alone.
Does that also work in virtual reality?
Older people tend to have reservations about technical innovations, but this does not apply to everyone. The fears also disappear when you have tried it out and you understand it and feel comfortable with the device operation. You could see that with smartphones over the last few years and the social interaction with social apps and messengers. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, usage has increased, and the advantage of digital contacts has been shown.
A disadvantage with VR training is the lack of control of the correct execution of the exercises. It will take a long time until there are good solutions in the consumer sector that offer full body tracking.
It is also a danger for the elderly that if they feel uncomfortable or collapse, no one is around to help, as it is possible in a fitness center. The sense of balance can also be more difficult in virtual reality. Especially with people who don’t use VR a lot. You have to be very careful. One advantage is that older people do not have to go to the fitness center and can still meet other people to train. Even with the younger older people who no longer feel comfortable in group courses because they are not as athletic or had the same fitness level as young people, virtual reality can help to overcome this hurdle. You don’t see the old age in VR because an avatar presents you.
A big advantage is for older people who used to train very actively, who know the exercises and how to do them correctly. Virtual Reality gives you a new opportunity to take part in group exercise classes. It can motivate this target group to start active training again if they have taken a longer break.
For young people and children
Virtual training is exciting for children, especially those who don’t exercise. These can be more easily induced to actively move around and spend a lot of time in VR gaming. Of course, group training with children is not easy because they rarely adhere to orders and orders.
They are also easily distracted and do their own thing. Group training works better if it is designed like a playground, with small experiences and courses that do not follow a strict sequence.
Parents should also supervise the training of young children. Another advantage is that VR keeps the children busy in an empty room and can therefore be placed in the parents’ field of vision. So the parents do not have to go to the place of the children, but the children can go to the place of the parents.
For people with social anxiety
People dealing with social anxiety may feel uncomfortable around others. In a training group, they have the opportunity to understand their actions and learn how to interact with other people. In a fitness group class, it is easier, as there is usually training and social exchange only takes place at the beginning and at the end. This, in turn, reduces their social anxiety when dealing with people, which makes them less uncomfortable and making poor decisions while socializing.
The bottom line is that when faced with social anxiety disorder, you need to use your social skills in group therapy and group training to reduce social anxiety. In addition, exercising with others can also help contain your social anxiety, make you less anxious, and help you enjoy your social life. It also helps to achieve goals together.
The researchers conducted a study and found that a group fitness class coupled with a social setting can actually make the experience more enjoyable. The group environment made people smile and feel good. Training together in groups and socializing in virtual reality is less of a hassle and increases the likelihood that you will feel empowered and positive.
With our XR FitClass online courses, it is even more convenient because nothing has to be installed and registered. You are anonymous and only your avatar is displayed.
The gym refusal
Virtual reality is an ideal alternative, especially for people who have the problem of being ashamed of their bodies and therefore avoid fitness centers. Through virtual training in the group, your own self-esteem and body awareness can be strengthened because these fears are forgotten. This effect can make people feel better without having to constantly think about their body or lack of exercise. There are also no setbacks from situations such as judging looks or comments from other people as in reality.
But there is also the risk that these people will flee into virtual reality. It is not a mistake to spend a lot of time in the virtual world. But it is dangerous to flee there because you are afraid of reality.
Group training for the disabled and people with disabilities
For people with disabilities or restricted mobility, virtual reality can bring advantages because the inputs can be technically adapted more easily. In this way, they can also take part in activities that are otherwise more difficult in reality. The sporting activities can become much more attractive if they are compensated by programming. Of course, these are very general assumptions here. Sometimes it also requires the provision of individual support. But VR has great potential and many opportunities in disabled sports.
Unique virtual environment and entertainment
Special virtual environments and additional entertainment can be created, which is otherwise difficult to reach. We also do this, for example, with the Cave Trip course. First you start on the main ship, then you fly to a cave and into it, then back again. If you have a VR headset, try it out for yourself to get an impression. it’s free and just open it in your browser without installation.
During a lockdowns
As we are all currently experiencing, when physical contact restrictions are imposed and fitness centers remain closed. Such restrictions do not exist in the virtual one. Everything stays as usual. Of course, it is also possible to switch to the virtual world at such times until the offers in the real world can be visited again.
It is usually less expensive to attend courses virtually than an annual subscription, the necessary outward journey and possibly parking fees in a fitness center in the real world. Even if the purchase of the Oculus Quest headset is included. For example, we offer free online courses.
To mention about the content
This is all purely theoretical, unfortunately we currently have very little use of the group fitness offer. Most of the time the courses are empty and so we cannot share the experience yet. But these do not differ significantly from the offers that are available in the real world. Offers must prevail and have continuous users.
Otherwise it can be a disadvantage because you want to attend a course, but no one else is participating, then you are again alone in training. We try the multiplaying approach. The participants can start their own courses at a specific time and at fixed times to increase the participants’ concentration for those who have no friends, who train with to start a course independently. We also observe and test various options to optimize the offer.
Here, too, it can be derived from the experiences that exist in multiplayer games. The sense of community is remarkably high and comes very close to reality. Even for the younger generation, who grew up with online computer games, it is not really a new way of workout in vr group exercise classes but a natural development.
There are also disadvantages
As already mentioned, the movement controls by instructors are not available and are very limited. This will not be improved in the near future. An additional video transmission from everyone could fix this, but that would again be against the principle of VR. We tried free courses with HubsFit and it worked partially, but pure training via video transmission would make more sense, such as Zoom group fitness courses. This is also the same problem with VR personal training or further education.
Technical problems can reduce the fun. If the connection is lost or the program crashes in the middle of a course.
The missing full-body avatars also reduce the active feeling. In the fitness area, even with trackers, posture can only be partially implemented or displayed. There are too sporty movements than just walking around and the like. The VRChat app has a few good examples of group courses and the limitations.
Even for people who do not enjoy the technical nature and prefer real contact, the VR implementation is less convincing for continuous use. People who are not familiar with VR have difficulties at the beginning and are too distracted by the environment or the new sensation in VR, instead of following the training process.
It also takes a little time to learn how to operate it and to get used to moving around in virtual space. This is particularly difficult with offers for people who have never experienced VR. Rather simple experiences should be offered there in order to show the possibilities of VR and to offer a pleasant experience.
Also the technical performance, especially with our multiplayer offers based on web technology (WebXR, Mozilla Hubs), it can happen that someone with a bad internet connection reduces the performance for everyone. Even if many participants are present and you use a device that has little power, this can lead to bad experiences. This is also the case with other offers such as the installable apps.
Even for work outs with human group fitness trainers, it can be a disadvantage. Especially if you work without a participant registration, that a course is not attended by anyone, but you are present yourself in vain.
If you feel like it, you can try group courses with us.
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