Why Exercise In VR?

Why Exercise In VR?
April 5, 2017

Do you jog in the park? Or lift weights at the gym?


For most of us, exercise involves finding a physical environment that works for your work out.


Today though, more and more people are exercising on beaches, in meadows and even in outer space.


And they’re doing it in virtual reality.

Kiki Coppelmans (right) with a patient using inMotionVR. Pic: inMotionVR.


Why exercise in VR?


Physiotherapist Kiki Coppelmans is the co-founder of inMotionVR, a company that creates games you can play in virtual reality to improve your health.


The practitioner decided to start the business back in 2015 in order to encourage her patients to actually do their exercises.


“Normally people who go to a physical therapist think it’s a little bit boring and painful, and they don’t do their exercises at home,” she told The Memo when we met her at the EIT Digital Conference in Brussels last month.


“But in virtual reality you’re immersed in another world, and you’re because you’re playing a game, you don’t realise you’re exercising at all.”


“You don’t notice that you are rehabilitating.”

This exercise involves exploring a pretty pastel meadow. Pic: inMotionVR.


Using inMotionVR


Coppelmans has already launched a pilot scheme with 20 physiotherapy practises in the Netherlands, and to date around 100 patients have reaped the benefits.


“You could be looking at a starry sky from the international space station, unlocking solar systems with your movements, or you could be in a flower meadow following a bumble bee as it collects little yellow dots. You could even go to a nice tropical island, a relax by following butterflies that fly around,” Coppelmans explains.


To make the experience even more beneficial, Coppelmans also plans to incorporate sensors: to measure stress, track movement data, and help motivate patients.


“One of the main problems is that patients don’t have an insight into the movement they’re gaining, unless the pain is less,” she explains.


“With data, you can give positive reinforcement, so your patients can see that they are recovering.”

Would you prefer to exercise in a virtual park? Pic: inMotionVR.


VR on the NHS


Coppelmans hopes that the project – which has been supported by the Utrecht University, and the Biofeedback Vereniging Nederland – will eventually help patients exercise better in their own homes.


“With inMotionVR, you have more motivation to do it, plus your therapist will be able to see data on how you are doing,” she explains.

The practitioner is currently preparing to move into the European market, potentially to even work with the NHS.


“Your NHS doctor could prescribe you a headset, and the therapist would fill it with the needed exercise modules,” she suggests. However, it’s likely that the patient would pay a small amount of money for the headset each week.


“The big dream is that we create the most globally widespread VR rehabilitation treatment with full body biofeedback,” she says.


“It’s about giving everyone a better feeling of wellbeing,”


VR beaches here we come.


Watch inMotionVR’s demo video below…

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