Researchers in the School of Engineering and Digital Arts of the University of Kent in the U.K. have found using virtual reality (VR) headsets while exercising reduced perception of pain and effort, while extending activity.
The researchers examined how using VR while exercising could affect performance by measuring heart rate, pain intensity, perceived exhaustion, time to exhaustion, and private body consciousness.
The team monitored 80 individuals performing an isometric bicep curl set at 20% of the maximum weight they could lift, and were told to hold it for as long as possible. Half the group served as a control, performing the move inside a room with a chair, a table, and yoga mat on the floor. The VR group used the same room and items, but wore a VR headset and saw the same environment, including a visual representation of an arm and the weight, and completed the same motion.
The results showed a clear reduction in perception of pain and effort when using VR technology.
Lead researcher Maria Matsangidou said the research could have “major implications for exercise regimes for everyone, from occasional gym users to professional athletes.”
From University of Kent
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