Side Effects of VR Exergaming

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Release of virtual reality fitness games has increased the popularity of virtual ‘exergaming,’ especially among younger people. However, Australian researchers advise caution in the first hour after playing.

The research team studied the consequences of playing a popular VR exergame called Beat Saber and found that one in seven players still reported VR sickness 40 mins after they had finished playing.

The researchers analyzed the effect of VR exergaming on the vision, nausea, and reaction times after short (10 minutes) and long (50 minutes) gameplay on gamers.

Dr. Ancret Szpak, lead researcher, states that while VR offers promising benefits to exergaming, this technology is only in its infancy, and we still have a lot to learn.

Dr. Szpack adds that though there is no doubt that VR provides unparalleled benefits to a range of applications, it is also important to be wary of how new technologies can affect you, both during and after play.

She explains that VR is particularly promising for exergaming as it keeps players absorbed in the virtual world but distracting them from feelings of physical efforts of exercise. This can help people who are not particularly excited about exercise to get their game on and get moving.

“For VR exergaming, the lessons are twofold – first, it’s always a good idea to try a brief VR session to make sure you can tolerate it before you dive into longer play; if you feel a bit dizzy after a short time, you’re likely to feel worse after a longer exposure,” she adds. “Secondly, after playing any VR – exergaming, it’s always wise to wait and see how you feel before you take on any higher-risk activity, such as driving a car.”

‘Researchers advise caution for the first hour after VR exergaming due to potential side effects.’
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