Virtual Reality Games To Keep You Fit During COVID-19 Lockdown

Sol Rogers Contributor Consumer Tech

With the coronavirus crisis leading to the closure of gyms in countries across the world, many have been forced to exercise at home.

Online videos are a useful tool for those training in-doors, but virtual reality (VR) can also offer a fun and effective workout. In fact, there are already many success stories from people who have utilized virtual reality to smash their fitness goals.

Here are some top tips for having a safe and fun VR workout, as well as a list of the best games to help you burn calories.


Before you put a headset on, make sure you check off this list to ensure a safe and effective workout.

  • Make sure you have enough space for your workout. Your space requirements will vary depending on your headset or game, so take the time to read any in-game instructions and the headset manufacturers’ recommendations. Check your surroundings for sharp corners, tripping hazards, or places where your headset cord might get tangled. Make sure you shut any pets or children out of the room too!
  • Protect your headset from sweat! Sweat and heat can quickly build up when you’re wearing a headset and working-out. Consider buying a wipeable faceplate protector so that you can keep it clean—these ones from VR Cover are great. Or have some antibacterial or antiviral wipes to hand. They are the cheapest and quickest solution should you find yourself needing to refresh your technology. However, do ensure that the wipes are alcohol-free and non-abrasive, otherwise, they may cause the material to break down.
  • Use the wrist straps on your controllers. This will prevent any mishaps while you’re exercising.
  • Take time to warm up and cool down. As with any workout, take time to start and finish properly to make sure you don’t pull a muscle or hurt yourself.

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Once you’ve done this preparation, you’re ready to start choosing how you want to work out. VR Fitness Insider notes that almost any game can become a workout if you have a fitness goal in mind. By exaggerating your movements and adding weights (like ankle weights, or even a backpack filled with books) while playing your favorite first-person shooter, you’ll be burning extra calories in no time.

For games that require you to stand still, why not try doing a little jog on the spot? Or for games where you have to dodge, try lunging or squatting instead. With these small changes, you’ll get the best out of all your VR experiences.

Young woman doing exercises wearing vr goggles

Choosing A Game

The table below shows a list of some of the most calorie burning games you can play in VR, with data taken from the Virtual Reality Institute of Health and Exercise. This organisation was founded in 2017 to use cutting edge laboratory equipment to better understand the calorie impact of VR experiences on the human body.

Here’s an explanation of the method behind calculating the calories burnt while playing a VR game:“While the badges display estimated calories expended per minute, ratings are actually based on a game’s observed MET score during testing, taking into account the rater’s base metabolic rate during resting. We use calorie estimates for the general user because most people are not familiar with a MET, which is a standard measure of exertion in kinesiology research. Comparisons to other activities, such as tennis, baseball, or boxing, are then based on readily available MET scores for these activities maintained by the US government.”

VR health institutre VR HEALTH INSTITUTE
GameAudioshield (modded)
AboutAudioshield is a musical rhythm game in which you block orbs in time with music. One of its strengths is that it can be easily modified through a simple text settings file. As a result, there are several player-made modifications on the internet that make Audioshield more challenging, and often better exercise.
Available onValve Index HTC Vive Oculus Rift WMR
Calories burnt10-13 calories per minute (equivalent to riding a bike)
GameThrill of The Fight
AboutEnter a virtual gym and battle a series of unique challenges with their own styles and techniques. Use timing and skill to land the knockout blow. Evade swings, land jabs, and block punches to become the king of the ring!
Available onValve Index HTC Vive Oculus Rift Oculus Quest WMR
Calories burnt8-10 Calories per minute (equivalent to rowing)
GameHot Squat
AboutPrepare to undergo a rigorous test on your legs but also your will—how many squats can you possibly do? Compete against your friends, yourself, and the world to get the highest squat count.
Available onValve Index HTC Vive Oculus Rift
Calories burnt6-8 Calories per minute (equivalent to playing tennis)
GameCreed: Rise to Glory
AboutExperience the pulse-pounding excitement of boxing with the cinematic thrill of a blockbuster movie as you become Adonis Creed, fighting to establish your legacy in the ring and beyond.
Available onHTC Vive Oculus Rift Oculus Quest
Calories burnt6-8 Calories per minute
AboutHolopoint is pure archery madness. Fight your way through waves of responsive targets, samurai, and highly dangerous ninjas—all while drawing, nocking, and shooting your arrows as quickly as possible.
Available onValve Index HTC Vive Oculus Rift
Calories burnt6-8 Calories per minute
AboutBoxVR brings music enhanced, boxing-inspired workouts to virtual reality. Leading fitness instructors help us produce a variety of boxing workouts, specifically designed to destroy calories in the most entertaining way ever devised!
Available onValve Index HTC Vive Oculus Rift Oculus Quest WMR
Calories burnt6-8 Calories per minute
GameBeat Saber
AboutBeat Saber is a VR rhythm game where you slash the beats of adrenaline-pumping music as they fly towards you, surrounded by a futuristic world.
Available onValve Index HTC Vive Oculus Rift Oculus Quest
Calories burnt6-8 Calories per minute
GameKnockout League
AboutKnockout League is a single player arcade-style boxing game. Dodge flaming uppercuts, block sweeping tentacle attacks, and pummel your opponents using 1:1 tracking of your head and hands.
Available onValve Index HTC Vive Oculus Rift Oculus Quest WMR
Calories burnt6-8 Calories per minute
GamePistol Whip
AboutPistol Whip is an unstoppable action-rhythm FPS. Journey through a cinematic bullet hell powered by a breakneck soundtrack to become the ultimate action hero legend.
Available onValve Index HTC Vive Oculus Rift Oculus Quest WMR
Calories burnt6-8 Calories per minute

VR Health Exercise Tracker App

Another great addition to your new fitness regime is the free VR Health Exercise Tracker app from the Virtual Reality Institute of Health and Exercise. It is the world’s first VR-specific calorie app that is built on hundreds of hours of VR-specific metabolic testing using research-grade equipment, making it the only official calorie tracker designed to be accurate for exercising in VR. 

YUR Launches Fitness tracking VR Smartwatch

If you want to be truly high-tech, check out this new tool from YUR: a virtual reality smartwatch that allows you to track fitness metrics without any wearable heart rate monitors from a virtual watch interface. The includes features such as heart rate and calorie estimates, squat counter, daily calorie goals, and customizable aesthetics.

At the moment it’s launching with integration into four Oculus Quest games: OhShape, RacketNX, Sairento, and Synth Riders. Just head into the settings to toggle on YUR.

Dilan Shah, Co-founder of YUR said,“Over the course of the last quarter we’ve seen an incredible shift in the world due to COVID-19, people are looking for new avenues to stay active while at-home. Now, over 5.1+ million workouts have been logged by over 60,000 users; and with so much time spent at home now is the time to join them.”Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my websiteSol Rogers

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