Why virtual reality fitness is the ideal escapism for Londoners
’m suspended on a spaceship in a star-clustered galaxy with Earth to my left and a satellite to my right. In a flash, the pumping sound of the PowerBeats app cranks into gear – and so does the action. A blitz of glowing planets is propelled towards me that I will have to punch, smash, or uppercut out of the way.
Next comes the dangerous space-junk, to be avoided with dodges, or squats that I must hold inside the agonisingly long tunnels. I can certainly feel the burn but, by the end of the track, I’ve only shaken off 15 calories. The good news is, it’s so much fun, this barely feels like exercise and I’m ready to go again.
As a 47-year-old mum with four kids aged 10 or under, my time is precious – and yet so is my health. I’m still trying to lose baby weight from the last birth two years ago while battling a sedentary writing job and attempting to train for my first triathlon. As you can imagine, this involves a whole heap of juggling.
I bought a Meta Quest 2 for the kids at Christmas and am astonished to report it’s become my go-to way of fitting-in bursts of exercise, especially given my ideal session is a day of trail running in the mountains.
Why tramp across town to, say, a dirty gym in the bowels of Archway when you can go sky-high boxing in the clouds or row across Antarctica, all without the hassle of leaving your own home? It is so much fun that I often feel motivated to work out several times a day.
Even more surprising is that you need not exercise alone, even if you are the only person in the house.
You can connect an indoor bike, rower, or elliptical exercise machine with a simple cadence-sensor to unlock the door to a whole new category of VR fitness apps and relieve the monotony of the ‘dreadmill’.
/ Octonic VR
For instance, the new Octonic VR running app works in tandem with modern treadmills to enable you to run with whole groups of friends who meet up in virtual environments, such as the fantastical Sky Island, a serene trail-runner’s dream.
I reached out to a Facebook VR group to find out more and met Richard Bowen, 58, a recycling collector from Plymouth, who…