The Virtual Reality Institute of Health and Exercise was founded in early 2017 to use cutting edge laboratory equipment to better understand the calorie impact of VR experiences on the human body. Created by professionals in a wide variety of backgrounds, the organization aims to explore gaming and health from the perspective of several different health fields. For 20 years video games have had a negative connotation in the health and fitness community. The stereotype of the unhealthy, antisocial gamer that hides in the basement and has no friends has long been untrue, but is still reinforced on the internet and remains prevalent in popular culture.
In 2014, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention identified hours playing video games as one of the risk factors for low physical activity in the United States. However, the inherent movement in virtual reality and augmented exercise make it possible that video games may soon be a positive contributor to physical fitness, not its enemy. And the popularity of video games as one of the world’s most sustained and growing pastimes may make it a great ally for those that traditionally struggle with staying fit.
The VR Health Institute exists to help provide concrete, objective data for the discussion of video games as a source of healthy physical activity. The VR Health Institute also aims to be a hub for the VR community interested in the broader impact and the role of virtual and augmented reality in a healthy lifestyle.