It’s estimated that there are over 50 million virtual reality (VR) users in the United States. That’s over 15% of the population. As technology continues to advance and VR becomes even more realistic, that number is bound to grow.
While VR games and experiences can be incredibly entertaining, there are also more benefits than you might think.
Not only can virtual reality get you up and moving, but it can also improve your mental health as a result. Your VR game can end up being a good workout or even a way to overcome medical anxiety so you can get the attention you need from healthcare providers.
Let’s take a closer look at how virtual reality can improve your mental and physical well-being and why you might want to consider joining 50 million Americans in making it a part of your life.
It Keeps You Active
The easiest way to improve your well-being with VR is to use it as a motivational tool for exercise. Data shows that VR workouts can burn just as many calories as more traditional regimens, and they can end up being a lot of fun. If you have a hard time getting excited about working out, can’t afford a gym membership, or just want to stay active in the comfort of your home, VR is a great option.
VR fitness is becoming more popular every year thanks to its ease and effectiveness. You simply need to invest in a quality headset and a few games or applications. These games allow you to immerse yourself in a completely different environment, so you can have fun and gamify your workout. Nowadays, you can find VR fitness games that cover just about any type of physical activity, including:
There are even games specifically dedicated to VR fitness, like Supernatural. It’s a whole-body workout that allows you to jump into different locations across the globe, creating a unique experience that you won’t find at any gym. You can even keep track of your workouts in a workout journal to feel proud of your achievements.
Exercise is obviously good for your physical health as it is a preventative health practice, but it also does wonders for your mental well-being. Physical activity helps to reduce stress, boost your energy, improve sleep, and help your mood. You can experience that “runner’s high” every time you finish a fun workout, and those mental health benefits will stick with you throughout the day.
It Improves the Healthcare System
VR isn’t all just fun and games. Both VR and augmented reality (AR) are being used in the healthcare industry to help patients maintain a better quality of life and get the medical attention they need.
Some people have “white coat syndrome” and don’t feel comfortable stepping into a doctor’s office or hospital. VR makes it easier to connect with healthcare professionals virtually from home. It also cuts down on commuting issues and can make it easier to monitor any health issues at home without having to make multiple appointments.
As the healthcare and tech industries continue to merge, patients will be the ones to benefit the most. That’s especially true for people who have a hard time going to the doctor or who have a condition that requires constant attention and monitoring. If those issues sound familiar, consider talking to your doctor about VR options. Not only can they keep you physically healthy through consistent monitoring, but they can reduce your stress and anxiety.
It Can Inspire Your Kids To Live Healthy Lives
If you have children, you already know how hard it can be to keep them away from video games for hours. However, not all games are bad. Some can be educational, informative, and actually promote a healthy lifestyle. VR headsets for children have been used to help with spatial awareness and reasoning skills, so it’s important to educate yourself as a parent on VR headsets and games in order to pick the right ones for your child.
Safety should be your number one priority, so make sure you set boundaries with your kids’ VR use and take the time to make sure they understand the differences between reality and virtual reality. Because VR can feel so real, it can stir up certain emotions within your children that they might have a hard time processing on their own. If you notice that they’re struggling with emotional regulation, consider letting them play their games less often, and make sure you’re openly communicating frequently.
When used correctly and safely, however, VR is a great way to get your kids interested in being more active. We talked about the physical health benefits of games that allow you to move around. Kids can reap those benefits just as much, and when they’re used to being active, they’re more likely to stay that way well into adulthood. Some of the best VR fitness games for kids include:
- Beat Saber;
- Dance Central;
- Nothin’ But Net.
As you can see, VR is made up of much more than “traditional” video games. It can be used to improve your mental and physical well-being in a variety of ways. If you haven’t jumped on board with virtual reality yet, consider giving it a try for the sake of your health.