Diabetes type 2: Could virtual reality gaming help manage the condition?

This Morning: Type 2 diabetes can be ‘devastating’ says expert

For those living with type 2 diabetes, getting enough exercise and physical activity is often drilled into their ears with little care as to how difficult it can be for some. With a lack of motivation, cold days and just the shear agony of carrying around so much extra weight, fitness goals are the last thing on many minds. As the world changes, however, so technology constantly improves with not all devices making humans lazier. In fact, virtual reality is a new way of exercising. A device which combines high intensity workouts, at your own pace in a fun and enjoyable way making physical activity less of a chore. Experts and studies recommend using these devices for not only the enjoyable element of escapism but to also help manage and even possible reverse your type 2 diabetes. How?

A virtual reality workout has the ability to uniquely combine effective exercise with the joy of gaming meaning working out doesn’t feel like a chore, explained Sam Cole, CEO and Co-Founder of FitXR to Express.co.uk.

Often traditional workouts don’t work for everyone and are very often mood and weather dependant.

By creating a device which makes workouts more enjoyable and less of a chore, achieving the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity is more attainable.

“We’re providing people with what we believe is the most fun way to work out – people find it easy to incorporate our classes into their daily routine, and look forward to them,” added Sam.

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Asked how virtual reality and FitXR differ from normal exercising, Sam answered: “Where FitXR really differs from traditional forms of exercise is through the escapism that virtual reality brings.

“You strap on the headset, and are instantly transported to another world – something increasingly important as we’re all looking for a change in environment from the four walls we work, eat, and sleep in.

“VR fitness has become even more useful as a tool that is available immediately and instantly and can be fit in and around your daily schedule.

“We saw an overall increase of almost 300 percent in users during 2020 compared to 2019, and our weekly active users has grown four times since Quest 2 launched.

“FitXR and virtual reality fitness in general offers a great way to give the body a complete cardio workout, which is actually fun.”

When it comes to the ability of motivating a person more to exercise and achieved their fitness goals, Sam discussed how their mission at FitXR is to create an all-in-one fitness studio that keeps the fun element at the core whether a person is into boxing or dance.

“We’re not trying to bore people with a fitness solution they’ve been served up differently time and time again,” he explained.

“We’ve also built a platform based on inclusivity and accessibility. One of our core beliefs is that we look to provide workouts to support people of varying fitness levels.

“We know that focusing on the fun aspect of exercise can make the time fly by whilst you’re following along with the workout.

“This means by the time you’ve taken the headset off you will have had a successful session, burnt calories, got your heart pumping and be dripping in sweat – all without feeling like you’ve done anything particularly strenuous or boring.”

In a study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, virtual reality and interactive gaming technology for obese and diabetic children was further investigated.

The Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center has pursued a number of technologies that may have application to the problems of obesity and diabetes management, noted the study.

It continued: “Technology in virtual reality (VR), interactive gaming, exergaming, and mobile tools has advanced very rapidly.

“The medical community is due for a reassessment of these technologies as they relate to obesity and diabetes.

“Exploring creative ways to employ and interconnect existing technology for obesity and diabetes management is a relatively simple and achievable goal.

“The key is in the creativity applied to the task with virtual reality exergaming potentially being the answer to this.”

FitXR gives a great, total-body cardio workout.

As well as burning calories and improving fitness levels, you can also improve skills like balance, coordination, body awareness and focus.

Another advantage of using VR for fitness is that it gives live feedback on how a person is doing.

The competitive element is also stronger through VR, as you can not only beat your own previous scores, but also others who play the game.

The multiplayer capabilities of VR also create a social element to the training, which is not available in a standard non-VR home workout.

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