A new study, led by the University of Portsmouth, examined the use of virtual reality (VR) technology in adults of all ages from around the world during the confinement process.
The closure of gyms, sports fields and parks, combined with severe restrictions on movement, they have forced millions of people to adopt a sedentary lifestyle.
People who use these devices – according to a publication in Health and Technology magazine – they avoid isolation blockage and feel better about life.
Those who used VR headsets as a hobby during confinement used them for much more than just playing games. Among the most recurring activities are: exercising, meditating, socializing, and watching movies.
VR headsets were used for exercising, meditating, socializing, and watching movies. Photo EFE.
“Virtual reality seems to have had a surprising and positive impact on people’s physical and mental well-being during periods of forced confinement”Said Dr. Alessandro Siani, from the Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Portsmouth.
Participants reported that ‘exercise games’ with a VR headset resulted in more vigorous physical activity than doing it with a game console. The vast majority recognized that VR use had a beneficial effect on their mental health.
The feel-good effect was so marked that Dr. Siani suggests that technology could be part of the arsenal of tools and strategies used to improve the physical and mental health of users.
“The confinement affected people of all ages in different parts of the planet. Isolation has led to an increase in the number of people reporting about stress, depression, irritability, insomnia, fear, confusion, anger, frustration and boredom”, Highlights Siani.
The study examined the use of VR in 646 people from 47 countries through an online survey and collect opinions on its impact.
VR headsets could be used to achieve greater stimulation in people of all ages.
“Both the mental and physical tolls are heavy and will not necessarily end when the restrictions are lifted. Governments around the world will soon have to address the mental health and physical well-being of citizens, if they have not already done so.“, clarified the researcher.
While most used their VR device more often for immersive gaming, they also used it almost as often for exercise. and he trained harder compared to those who had a game console without these capabilities.
Previous research showed that people who passed ten minutes a day watching a 360-degree video felt less anxiety.
VR headsets have gone from being a niche device for tech-savvy gamers, to being employees such as entertainment, education, business, and healthcare.
Although the use of gaming technology to improve physical ailments is still in its early stages, it is promising, and it is fun.
One of the new trends is exercise programs, which are now widely used in muscle rehabilitation and for the elderly.
About three in four respondents noted that VR use had increased during isolation. Most said they were using it more to pass the time, while they were locked up.
98% acknowledged that they use VR to play for one to four hours a day. 75% do it to exercise, for a period of time similar to that of video games.
What’s more, 52% use them to socialize, 47% to watch movies and 37% to meditate.
Most agree that VR activities provide an alternative way to stay fit and active while They are at home and almost everyone said that their use of technology had a positive impact on their mental health.
Dr. Siani cautioned that while this is a preliminary study, based on participant self-assessment, it would be advisable to delve into the effect of virtual reality under controlled conditions to have a more complete view of your benefits.
The results of this study could provide a springboard towards the implementation of virtual reality-based strategies to support the physical and mental health of the population, even in the post-Covid-19 world.