Let's face it, for all the healthy benefits derived, pedaling in place can get boring.
You get tired of sitting in the same place, doing the same thing, and seeing the same sights for a prolonged period of time.
Virtual reality (VR) viewers have gained in popularity over the last few years, as the proliferation of smartphones and VR applications have brought back the idea of simulated realities.
It was just a matter of time before someone came up with the idea of taking these simulated realities and applying it to the concept of exercise; or, in this case, marrying exercise biking and virtual reality.
VR is different than the array of televisions you'll find in your local gym, often positioned around the all the cardiovascular exercise machines; in fact, many machines these days have the television built right into them.
But these screens do nothing more than serving as a distraction to your workout, as opposed to engaging you and encouraging you to work out. On the contrary, if you're watching something on one of these screens, you may actually be prone to reducing the energy exerted into your workout, making this effort completely counterproductive.
Instead, the VR applications that have been integrated into many new exercise bikes have the ability to:
Ask anyone who owns an exercise bike, and the majority of them will tell you that it's sitting in their basement, attic, or storage room somewhere, either collecting dust, or serving as a prop to air out wet laundry.
The impetus and motivation that was there when they bought the bicycle quickly go away, due to the unexciting and monotonous nature that riding an indoor bike can sometimes have.
Virtual reality changes that. Since the applications you'll be viewing -- through the viewer attached to the bike -- correspond to your workout, your exercise will turn into adventurous and invigorating bike rides through new and exciting places.
What if, instead of plodding away all by yourself in your home gym, you're suddenly zooming along on a motorcycle, rumbling in a battle zone like a tank, or galloping through a medieval battle on a horse?
Or better yet, instead of playing a game, what if you want to experience biking through different cities or countries, without leaving your home?
You can even use your virtual reality viewer and your smartphone to leverage applications like Google Street View, allowing you bike through different places all over the world.
There are numerous studies that have demonstrated how any type of exercise that raises your heart rate and gets your body moving to the point of where you're breaking a little bit of a sweat has enormous benefits for your brain, and for your mood overall.
However, too many people treat exercise like they do eating their vegetables or mowing their lawn: it's more of a chore that they're forcing themselves to do, rather than wanting to do it.
From a psychological standpoint, the use of virtual reality presents an entirely new dimension to your exercise bike. Thanks to the new (virtual) realities you'll discover as part of your workout, yesterday's workout will be different from today's or tomorrow's workout.
This can be a powerful motivator for people who have either lost motivation to exercise, or even lack the motivation to exercise in general, even though they know they should do so. Giving them something else to focus on, besides the idea of forcing themselves to spend a certain amount of time pedaling away in place, gives them a positive and healthy stance towards their bike.
One of the best parts of integrating virtual reality into exercise bikes is being able to apply the principles of gamification to exercise.
Gamification is the idea of applying elements of playing a game -- like scoring points and competing with others, within a set of defined rules -- to other things outside of sports and games.
In the instance of exercise biking, virtual reality-based applications can keep exercise bike users more engaged and enthusiastic by giving them goals or missions to complete, awarding them some types of points, and then allowing them to compete against other users, based on how vigorous their work out on the bike has been.
Further, these games also allow you to track your progress, meaning exercisers can also see just how far they've come since they started using their device.
Virtual Reality is a simple and fun way of taking a dull and sometimes dreaded endeavor -- riding your exercise bike -- and making it into something fun and entertaining.
It's another one of the many ways technology can enhance a person's health and fitness goals.
This post was last updated on October 28th, 2017 at 09:43 am
Over the last few years, I’ve taken my love of the outdoors, hiking, skiing, trekking and exploring to the next level by starting this site. I started a bike shop in Denver, CO, and have seen amazing growth over the last few years. Getting paid to do what I love has been a dream come true for me. That’s also what led me to start BikesReviewed.com. In my shop, I spend a large amount of time helping people find the perfect bike for them and the style of biking they’re going to be doing. It only made sense that I expanded my reach and got online, making it possible for me to help people all over the world. If biking and staying fit is your priority, too, you’ve come to the right place.