Many current VR fitness games and apps focus on replicating traditional workouts or exercise routines. But the true future of engaging fitness experiences in VR lies in social, cooperative games that organically incorporate full body movement.
Titles like Gorilla Tag and Golf+ demonstrate this approach. In Gorilla Tag, players scramble to catch opponents in a form of VR tag. Golf+ mimics real golf swings and activities. Both make users break a sweat without feeling like exercise.
Health by stealth
This taps into the idea of stealth fitness or stealth health. By encouraging natural movement through fun gameplay mechanics, users exert themselves without even realizing they are working out. It feels like play rather than exercise.
Social features enhance this stealthy approach. Competing against others drives engagement and energy expenditure while providing camaraderie. Users focus on the social experience rather than purely physical sensations.
Importantly, these games get the whole body moving in fluid, natural ways, Gorilla tag is really great for upper body and core strength, whilst Golf plus also works core, shoulders and legs to some degree.
All this promotes balance, coordination, spatial awareness, and cardiovascular health. VR developers should expand beyond arm movements into full body activity. Building games to work, for instance with Sony's Mocopi system could be the answer.
Old skool is still cool!
Of course, traditional VR workouts serve those wanting structured programs. But for mainstream fitness, playful social VR worlds that inspire free active movement are the most promising direction. Gamifying fitness lowers barriers to entry while achieving similar or greater activity levels. As VR fitness expands, developers should remember the "play" in "gameplay".
The next generation of VR users will flock to titles that connect communities through cooperation, competition, and collective purpose. If that can be achieved while sneakily helping them get fit at the same time, even better!
Stealth health principles are the future of VR fitness.