Let’s face it, if you’re new to working out, the first thing you need it to be is fun. Good news – a recent study published in the Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise journal has demonstrated a perfect way to make that happen.
Adding audio-visual effects to a structured workout can be a great way for exercise newbies to set themselves up for long-term fitness success. The research shows that using technology to create an “immersive” fitness experience increases satisfaction and decreases the rate of perceived exertion for new exercisers.
The study conducted by Dr Jinger Gottschall of Penn State University compared exercise intensity, satisfaction and perceived exertion between an audio-only cycle class and Les Mills’ immersive cycling experience called THE TRIP™. THE TRIP features cinema-quality video projected on a floor-to-ceiling screen that creates a virtual world. The immersive class creates the sensation of ascending steep glaciers, sprinting around digital velodromes, cruising into a peaceful sunset, and even diving underwater in the latest release.
If you’ve always wondered what it would be like to ride your bike underwater, you can get a sense of this amazing “submersive immersive” experience here.
During the study newbie exercisers completed eight audio-only and eight immersive cycle classes and researchers measured the time spent in the two maximum heart rate zones (80-90 percent and 90-100 percent).
They also collected survey data measuring rate of perceived exertion, satisfaction and enjoyment immediately after each class.
The findings show that while the intensity of the workout was consistent across both formats, the rate of perceived exertion was significantly lower for the immersive fitness workout. Basically, the exercisers found the immersive cycling easier – even though it wasn’t. What’s more, they found immersive cycling a more satisfying exercise experience overall.
“I got so lost in the visuals that I had no idea how hard I was working until I saw the pool of sweat below my bike when the lights were turn on – super cool!”
- Daniel, THE TRIP participant
“This is great news for anyone who finds it challenging to work out regularly,” says Dr Jinger Gottschall.
“It demonstrates that, if you’re new to exercise, immersive classes can be an ideal environment to achieve your fitness goals because you can reach a high heart rate zone to get fitter, faster, without feeling the discomfort of the intensity level.”
“It’s the ideal option for maintaining a long term fitness journey, enjoying results, and smiling along the way.”
- Dr Jinger Gottschall
Bryce Hastings, Les Mills Head of Research, agrees. “Immersive classes present the perfect combination of engaging distractions, helping exercisers to reach vigorous intensities without high perceived effort.”
“The convergence of technology, exercise science and creativity creates a workout experience like no other,” he adds.
“In a 40-minute multi-peak cycling workout you become lost in journey through digitally-created worlds – it takes your motivation and energy output to the next level and you’ll burn serious calories.”
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