Thursday, May 11, 2006

benefits of virtual reality

from the "Anxiety and Stress Management" blog:

Benefits of Virtual Reality
Exercise has been seen as a valuable addition to our lives not only because it promotes physical health, but because it keeps our mental health. The question of whether outdoor exercise or virtual reality exercise is better. Read on.

The February 2006 issue of the International Journal of Stress Management carries a report of just such a study. Evaluating the results from 112 psychology students who were put in one of three situations: taking a brisk outdoor walk, walking on a laboratory treadmill while viewing a virtual reality video of the same outdoor walk or viewing the video without exercise. The psychologists measured mood and "enjoyment" measures before and after the trials and guess what they found?

The students who were on the laboratory treadmill with the virtual reality video were more relaxed and "experienced the least tension of the three conditions". So, it seems that indoor exercise with a component that provides a bit of the great outdoors is beneficial to your mental and physical health.


Anita said...

That's fascinating. If I had to hypothesize, I'd guess it is because a treadmill removes any of the stresses one might find outside (getting lost, concern about getting all the way home, dogs, varied terrain, etc.) while providing the endorphins of true exercise plus a pretty setting to boot.

However, they probably should have had a 4th group that was on the treadmill alone without the video.

Unknown said...

I agree with Anita, a video won't mug you and it won't suddenly start raining in your house.

Joy Renee said...

I find this concept very appealing. It would eliminate all the anxiety associated with the noise of the traffic and my fears of falling or banging into things because of limited vision. I am imagining a virtual reality video of a beach with surf and seagul sounds. Lovely. I wonder if they could make the treadmill feel like wet sand under your feet? :)