Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, Vol 15, No 4

Running virtual: The effect of virtual reality on exercise

Coleen McClure, Damian Schofield


Research has shown that exercise among college aged persons has dropped over recent years (Lindahl, 2015; Sheppard, 2016). Many factors could be contributing to this reduction in exercise including: large workloads, the need to work during school, or perhaps technology use. A number of recent studies are showing the benefits of using virtual reality systems in exercise and are demonstrating that the use of such technology can lead to an increase in the number of young adults engaging in exercise. This study focuses on the effects that virtual reality has on heart rate and other bodily sensations during a typical work out. This study also analyses the participants ability to pay less attention to their bodily sensations during exercise when using a virtual reality system. During this experiment, participants were exposed to two different conditions. Condition one being a traditional work out, riding an exercise bike at a middle tension level. Condition two was the same but the participant was wearing a virtual reality headset. The data collected led to the conclusion that working out while wearing a virtual reality headset will lead to a higher heart rate, and in turn can lead to burning more calories during a workout. The study also found participants who wore the virtual reality headset were able to remove themselves from their bodily sensations allowing them to workout longer.