Virtual fitness – a trend to stay or just a way to pass the time?

With Hong Kong’s extended closure of gyms and other social facilities due to the coronavirus, fitness enthusiasts need to get creative if they want to stay in shape. The lack of access to a gym’s arsenal of equipment can make achieving a well-rounded workout at home and staying motivated a challenge.

Thankfully, innovations in video game technology and access to virtual workouts are here to help. Although exercise games and follow-along workout videos are nothing new, they remain a staple for many who have an overly crammed schedule. We believe virtual fitness has further potential to grow – and will continue to have an active userbase even after the end of the coronavirus epidemic. Here’s why:

Milestone motivators

Have you ever wanted to duel a musclebound leotard-wearing dragon using the power of squats? Now you can with Ring Fit Adventure on the Nintendo Switch! A turn-based role-playing game where you can navigate obstacle courses and battle enemies using a wide range of physical workouts – it was so popular that both western and Chinese audiences were eager to snatch up copies to stay occupied during the epidemic.

With Ring Fit Adventure, every enemy and level you clear gives you experience points – which not only enhances the stats of your character (allowing you to both hit harder and take more hits), but unlocks more potent and damaging workout moves as well. While the game isn’t a perfect substitute for the gym, a professional trainer has commented that the game was a great way for beginners (and persons who’ve taken a break from the gym) to avoid mindless workouts and get in a good sweat.

A game is much more immersive when you are physically doing the actions on screen – like with a fishing simulator, spinning the reel to bring in the catch brings greater satisfaction than just mashing a button. After the success of Ring Fit Adventure, new ways to integrate work outs into games are a hot ticket trend – the game even has a new music and rhythm mode!

Masterclass experiences

Imagine yourself after a long week of work. Looking forward to attending a yoga session with your favourite instructor and your mat and gear all packed, you suddenly find out that your class has been cancelled until further notice. Whether due to social distancing protocols or a freak typhoon, sometimes life just gets in the way of exercise.

Luckily, you can still follow along with online videos. Online learning has become more popular with the introduction of high-quality productions like Masterclass – allowing subscribers to learn ballet or basketball from celebrities like leading American ballet dancer Misty Copeland or NBA MVP Stephen Curry. Granted, not every class you attend is going to feature celebrities nor studio-grade work, but as technology continues to become more affordable, classes will continue to boast higher resolutions, sharper audio and smoother connection speeds – and perhaps even an immersive VR experience someday!

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