With the pandemic dominating our lives all across 2020 and the release of virtual reality (VR) fitness games on consoles such as Nintendo and Playstation, virtual ‘exergaming’ has become the hot fitness trend, especially among younger people.
However, the researchers at the University of South Australia have been building awareness about the potential downside of the practice, particularly in the first hour after playing.
As per a study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, UniSA researchers have discussed the negative consequences of playing Beat Saber which is one of the most popular VR exergames. It was found that one in seven players reported VR sickness even 40 mins after they had finished playing.
The study tried to understand the impact of VR exergaming on gamers’ vision, nausea, and reaction times for both short and longer gameplay sessions. They came to a conclusion that even though Beat Saber was mostly well-tolerated, a few players did display some long-lasting side effects.
Lead researcher, Dr. Ancret Szpak, said, “There’s no doubt that VR provides unparalleled benefits to a range of applications, but it’s important to be wary of how new technologies can affect you, both during and after play.”
“VR is particularly promising for exergaming as it keeps players absorbed in the virtual world while distracting them from feelings of physical effort of exercise. In this way, people who are not particularly excited about exercise, can still get their game on and get moving.”
“For VR exergaming, the lessons are twofold: first it’s always a good idea to try a brief VR session to make sure you can tolerate it before you dive into longer play; if you feel a bit dizzy after a short time, you’re likely to feel worse after longer exposure,” he added.
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