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I’m not someone who works the same way every day. Call it boredom, call it disengagement, call it what you want, but I get tired of working out if I don’t shake things up every now and then. That’s why I love finding new and exciting ways to get my daily exercise in instead of buying fancy exercise equipment, even if it means working out in the most unconventional ways. And I don’t think I’m alone in this.
I will admit that I have seen and heard of people using VR headsets to exercise before, but I had never tried a VR headset until I started using them for exercise. The well-known and respected Meta Quest 2 turned me on to the world of VR, and it’s unlikely I’ll find myself running on a treadmill or watching yoga on YouTube again anytime soon.
In just a few short weeks, I went from boxing and mastering punches to training with a professional trainer in faraway lands, dancing to my favorite hits from the 90s, and running from would-be assassins in virtual games. No two workouts are the same when you put on the Meta Quest 2 headphones and escape to another world, even if it’s within the confines of your living room.
The Meta Quest 2 comes with a headset, two intuitive hand controls and a charger. There are no pesky cables to contend with unlike other VR systems, so it makes getting around super easy. And even though I’d never used a VR system before, it only took about fifteen minutes to set it up and play, especially since the system loads up quickly. All I had to provide was my Facebook account and download the Oculus app, and from there it was a matter of choosing the best fitness apps to suit my specific workout desires, whether that was dance, yoga, cycling , boxing or meditation – the world was my oyster in the virtual world.
One of my main concerns about the Meta Quest 2 was that the audio and visuals would be substandard, hard to watch, or just plain unpleasant, but the sound, clarity, and design of this system are truly second to none. You feel transported into these virtual, immersive spaces that completely envelop you, and from there you feel powerful and confident enough to tackle any physical activity, even ones you never thought you’d try.
While I may be insecure trying a boxing class for the first time in person, Meta Quest 2 gave me the luxury of learning confidently on my own without fear of judgment from onlookers or fear of numerous mistakes. And for those of you who are like me and bump into walls even if you’re just walking around in the real world, Meta Quest 2 forces you to draw your physical boundaries so you don’t run into objects with your headset on.
In terms of workouts, there are pretty much endless options to choose from, but you can read about them and choose between them on both the headset and the Oculus app to see which ones you like best.
To play it safe, I started with the well-reviewed, super-popular Supernatural app, which taught me how to box for the first time. I never knew I’d be able to land a jab or swing a solid left or right hook, but in no time I felt like I was getting the hang of it and could handle it. With this app, you’ll feel like you have your own personal trainer thanks to their guided workouts with music and movements that will literally keep you on your feet the entire time. Although some of the workouts are relatively easy to maintain, they will still challenge you and make you sweat as you move and jump. I felt like after ten minutes I had already done more than I usually do in my usual thirty minute workouts.
Another app I really enjoyed was Beat Saber, which has you dancing, dodging and slashing through oncoming objects with your virtual laser sabers to fun music from names like Lady Gaga and Billie Eilish. Unlike other workouts I’ve done in the past, I wasn’t wondering how much time was left or if I could quit early without feeling too guilty about it. I was engaged and fascinated, which made the usually tedious task of crafting even more achievable.
I also enjoyed using my old stationary bike and pairing it with the Met Quest 2 to tackle the VZfit app, which had me cycling through fascinating, beautiful terrain from around the world – much better than pedaling and staring at my white walls for an excruciatingly slow hour.
I could go on about all the different fitness apps available in Meta Quest 2, but the truth is that there are some great workout options available in this system. What I appreciate most about the VR system is the fact that even if you’re not aiming to work out that day, you’ll find that you get plenty of exercise just by using it, even if it’s just for gaming features.
You can also track your daily movement within Meta Quest 2, and what I was amazed to find was that even just twenty to thirty minutes of using this tool accumulated more activity than I usually have in a whole day. It has made all the difference in achieving my fitness goals.
At $399, you might be wondering if the Meta Quest 2 is worth the expense as a workout tool, but when you consider the long-term costs of something like a monthly gym membership or expensive boutique classes like Pilates or yoga, you’ll probably make money up front with the Meta Quest 2. While most of the fitness apps available cost a bit of money, the prices are super reasonable and easily justified, especially considering the scenic views and *almost* addictive workouts you have at your disposal with this system.
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