Augmented reality is a method of enhancing an individuals senses. This means that your real world environment is augmented by the addition of digital overlays. This is quite different from VR or virtual reality. Virtual reality takes the individual into a completely new environment. So, unlike virtual reality, augmented reality doesn’t create a new environment, it merely injects additional elements into the environment you’re already in. To give you an example, look at this video of an augmented reality zoo. The visitors are in the real world, and the animals are digital overlays which are projected into the real world. Now that you have a solid idea of just what augmented reality is, lets take a look at how augmented reality can enhance your workout routine.
1. Augmented Reality Provides You with Real-Time Data
There’s no question about it, fitness enthusiasts are really into obtaining results, the faster the better. This is where augmented reality steps in. Augmented reality provides the individual with real-time results. When it comes to results, it’s much more than a vanity thing. Real-time results assist the individual in assessing where their trouble spots are, where they’ll need to push harder in order to see results they desire.
Examples of devices that provide users with real-time results are wearables. Wearables are augmented reality devices that relate your heart rate, respirations, etc. Wearables prevent you from slacking intentionally or accidentally. They also ensure that you don’t overdo it, which is just as damaging as not doing enough. Wearables also store data, so you always know when you started your fitness journey. This helps you assess just how much it takes to achieve certain goals, or warns you of plateaus.
2. Augmented Reality Creates Engaging Environments
While some people love a good workout, there are others that become terribly bored by one. In fact, it’s one of the central hurdles some must overcome when working out. People have tried everything to remedy workout boredom, from attaching a book rack to their exercise bike, to doing aerobics in front of a television. Augmented reality will help to beat this nightmare by creating a fun and engaging exercise environment.
Augmented reality works to alleviate boredom by transforming your workout into an enjoyable and interactive activity that you’ll enjoy. For instance, say you want to take a jog through the neighborhood park. Instead of just doing a flat run through the same old scenery, augmented reality can place a virtual obstacle for you to jump over, or even give you a virtual running partner! Augmented reality is designed to stimulate your senses in a variety of ways, making workout boredom a thing of the past.
3. Holographic Workout Instructors
So, there’s a blizzard outside and you can’t get to your favorite gym? Not a problem with augmented reality, just add a workout instructor to your home gym! The old days of loading a VHS cassette into a player, or trying to follow a workout in some magazine are now gone for good. With an augmented reality fitness app, you’ll be able to project your very own virtual fitness guru to take you through your daily workout.
As you can see, augmented reality would allow users to add fun and unusual elements to their real world with virtual content. So, say you’d like to have Marilyn Monroe, or some other well known person to be your workout instructor for the day. You would inject her image as a hologram into your home living room, where she would give you instructions on whatever you needed, from proper nutrition information, to proper workout techniques.
Gaming is a billion dollar industry. If you don’t game, then chances are you know those who do. For those who do game, the addition of gamification elements into your fitness routine will make it so you never want to quit your workout. To warm you up to the idea, think back to 2016 and the emergence of “Pokemon Go”. While not designed for workouts, this app certainly provided a good workout as players had to walk to certain destinations.
Gamification refers to adding gaming mechanics to systems which are not connected to gaming. So, when it comes to fitness, the user can use augmented reality so they’re being chased down by zombies. This would provide healthy and fun encouragement for their daily run. You would also be able to enhance your workout by unlocking achievements, rewards, badges, and so on.
5. Accessibility and Motivation
In general, technology and activity don’t usually go hand in hand. After all, when we surf the net or read our phones, we’re usually in a sedentary position. However, all that changes with the introduction of augmented reality into the fitness world, and a big part of that is motivation. When something becomes fun, we humans become engaged, simple as that. In the old days, burning off 500 calories on an exercise bike was seen by many as a time of dread. However, when you find yourself being chased by a few dinosaurs or a zombie hoard, then the fun begins.
Accessibility is another huge benefit. By accessibility, we mean that exercise enthusiasts now have the ability to create the perfect augmented reality experience anywhere, at any time. This means that your workouts are now conveniently occurring wherever you want. Don’t feel like driving all the way to the gym on Sunday? Not a problem, just switch on the app, go to the living room and begin your augmented reality workout with your augmented reality trainer. As you can see, it’s also the perfect solution for anyone who loves to workout, but is shy when it comes to going to gyms.
While both virtual reality and augmented reality are finding their way into the fitness industry, virtual reality centers more around immersion into virtual environments. On the other hand, augmented reality brings digital content into the real world of the fitness enthusiast. Augmented reality and fitness has even entered the educational world, In a 2012 study, researchers used augmented reality to assist sedentary students increase their activity levels. Augmented reality creates an enjoyable exercise environment, increases motivation, and offers the individual a convenient way to reach their fitness goals.