Imagine cycling through the Tour de France, running along Hawaii’s magnificent coastlines, or being led through a Yoga class by an instructor you’ve never met in person. Thanks to technology, these scenarios are closer to reality than ever before.
Once reserved for arcades and die-hard video gamers, virtual reality is making its way to the mainstream. And fitness experts and clubs around the world are taking notice.
Virtual reality is being used in exercise as a way to bring class-goers a completely immersive experience and to introduce different workouts to new consumers. The idea is that viewers will feel like they are part of the real-deal; they will have a 360° view of their surroundings, will be able to hear instructors giving them direction, and will be more engaged with the environment around them.
Mashable and Reuters have cited VR as a trend that the fitness industry cannot afford to ignore, naming Nike as one of its early adopters. And Zumba is also making headlines for bringing the VR experience to new fans.
By partnering with VR company YouVisit, Zumba created a 360° video that shows viewers exactly what it’s like to take a Zumba® class led by Beto Perez, creator of the dance-fitness program. The 3.5-minute video can be viewed using any VR headset and puts users in control of their class experience.
Alberto Perlman, CEO of Zumba, hopes to partner with gyms around the country to bring new, potential, or existing members the VR experience as a way to entice them to try a live Zumba class.
“Virtual reality is a great way to show people what the Zumba experience is like. A lot of people don’t know what it’s like to be in a Zumba class, and you can only see so much in 2D,” explains Perlman. “With this new technology, users can get a true, 3D sense of what to expect when taking a class.”