FUTURE OF YOGA AND FITNESS
Gamified exercise is similar to virtual cycling classes and online workouts, but differs in that it can boast a game narrative or the chance to compete against others in an augmented reality. Futuristic? Sure. Set to be commonplace? Most definitely. In fact, a 2017 study from UKactive reveals that, by 2026, many believe we’ll be able to enjoy virtual workouts with (and perhaps, against) top athletes. ‘A lot of people are talking about VR and AR as the next big thing, but they’re getting ahead of themselves,’ says Ian McCaig, co-founder of Fiit. ‘The immediate opportunity is making digital fitness more interactive, more immersive and more sociable through the technology people already have: mobiles, iPads and TVs. Combined with wearable devices and connected fitness equipment, we’re going to see lots of great fitness experiences being developed soon.’
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MOTIVATED TO MOVE
The notion behind this new breed of exercise technology is simple: people are more likely to stick to a workout routine if they’re motivated by fun than if they’re driven by the fear of putting on pounds. Plenty of folk already love playing computer games, so why not put an active spin on them? It’s more convenient (and often cheaper) than going to a gym, and instant rewards, such as achievement points or levels completed, can provide the sense of accomplishment that inspires exercisers to keep moving. ‘A large benefit of gamified exercise is the immersive nature of them,’ adds Quinton, ‘Never before has indoor training been more enjoyable, which leads to a huge increase in session times.’
And while many seasoned athletes, from cyclists to runners, are already enjoying the performance-boosting benefits of gamified workouts, the high-tech trend is also pulling in new devotees who may not otherwise exercise. In fact, many experts believe gamified workouts are the prime way to inspire the younger generation to get moving. The trade-off? The world avoids an obesity crisis. ‘With more than 50 per cent of the UK population gaming on a regular basis, fitness brands can take insight from the gaming sector,’ agrees McCaig. ‘Gaming used to mean playing by yourself on the computer. Now, people are playing with gamers all over the world. It’s a fully interactive and immersive experience.’ And that’s what gamified exercise is all about. Read on to give it a go.
Welcome to the world of exercise gaming! From virtual races to competitive rides, here’s our top pick of gamified workouts.
BoxVR (fitxr.com) This reality game brings high-intensity boxing workouts into your living room. You can expect regular workout updates from a handpicked team of top London instructors, plus the chance to enter ‘Survive’ mode and pit yourself against other players. You’ll need a VR headset to play the game.
Run Zombies, run! (zombies rungame.com) Created by games developer Six to Start (who recently launched a virtual 10K running event called Run to the Deep), this fitness app aims to inspire you to run by using a story narrative in which you’re being chased by zombies and have to help rescue survivors, gather supplies and generally be a hero. There’s nothing like being chased by the undead to make you speed up!
Zwift (zwift.com) Zwift has already enjoyed great success among the cycling community, transforming turbo training sessions into group rides and uploading sessions to Strava. Now, there’s Zwift for runners. Run through the jungle, alongside dolphins or in a mass-participation event. All you need is a foot pod or treadmill and the free app.
Fiit (fiit.tv) If you’re inspired by fitfluencers, head to this online platform for your pick of interactive classes from some of the biggest names on Instagram. More than a bank of web workouts, Fiit syncs with the latest apps and social media, provides trainer interaction feedback, and lets users compete with other people from the Fiit community.
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