Imagine cycling along the route of the Tour de France. Or enjoying a Zumba class in Miami.
You might be able to — and soon.
Thanks to Virtual Reality (VR), which has the potential to change our realities into … well … virtual ones with a whole lot more cachet.
Yes, you won’t need an airplane ticket to go somewhere cool. Just a headset, folks.
“Virtual reality is making inroads into group fitness classes and personal training sessions and promises to get more immersive as the technology advances, according to fitness experts,” notes a story at FoxNews via Reuters. “It can transport an indoor cyclist in snowy Minnesota to Miami Beach or drop a novice into the middle of a three-dimensional exercise class that was taped days ago and miles away.”
Already, businesses like Anytime Fitness, a worldwide franchise, uses automated kiosks to screen immersive classes from indoor cycling to yoga.
“We have doubled down on our concentration of virtual fitness,” said Shannon Fable, corporate director of programing. “It’s an electronic way to deliver reliable, affordable group fitness for free.”
Virtual exercise in the form of instructors and classes projected onto a screen has already penetrated some 3,000 clubs worldwide, according to IHRSA (International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association).
“Dance party” workout company Zumba has been demonstrating a 360-degree virtual reality class, though t admits the headset is still “clunky.”
“We envision as the headsets get lighter and the technology gets better, you’ll be able to be in a Zumba class at home,” says Alberto Perlman, the CEO of Miami-based Zumba Fitness, who believes there will be a lighter weight headset and very consumer-friendly version by 2016. “The average person will go into a store, buy a piece of elastic casing, put it on their phone, and download the class.”
Endri Tolka, co-founder of YouVisit, the New York-based virtual reality content company that partnered with Zumba for the class, agrees that the virtual reality experience will only get better.
“Down the line you’ll be getting on a cycling machine, putting the headsets on, and loading up the Tour de France or a beach in California,” he said. “And you will feel as if you’re there in your brain.”