VR Workout // Racket: NX + REAKT // Thursday 4th Feb

Bit of a change of scene today. I became the proud owner of a Oculus Quest 2 yesterday. Keep in mind this is after expressing deep deep misgivings about Facebook’s new policies re: Oculus, and also having cancelled my account several years ago, AND swearing I would never get one.

But productivity apps that allow me to pretend I’m not stuck in my armchair while I work on my PC and the total freedom of movement afforded in fitness games eventually crushed my resolve. I don’t exactly welcome my new overlords, but I guess this is the world I live in now.

Anyway, the first exercise related game that basically totally justified my change of heart is Racket: NX. Which is a racket sport for nerds like me. Imagine you’re in a a cyberpunk squash court, inside a game of Breakout, inside a holodeck. That’s this, and it’s truly awesome.

I used to play squash, and actually loved racket and ball sports in general. Despite my current physique, I was a high achiever in that regard. I haven’t picked up a racket for 25 years, and honestly, it was a joy to have that feeling again. Oh so convincing it was too, with the ability to spin the ball towards those lovely glowy, fragile targets.

It’s the closest I’ve ever come to a true VR sport. I’ll be playing this a lot, and when I figure out how to stream Quest 2 games, I’ll be doing it with this, without a doubt.

From a workout point of view, it’s equivalent to either tennis or elliptical depending on where you look. 440 calories over 32 minutes of pure fun. Calories you don’t notice you’re burning? They’re the best calories.

And I reached a wee milestone here too. For the first time since I started this, this year, I’ve done two sessions instead of one. So immediately after NX, I fired up REAKT.

This is a little different. More of a mental acuity / focus / reaction trainer. Much drier and defintely makes you feel like you’re in a sports performance lab. When you start you get a choice of the real life sports you’re training for, including field hockey which was my main sport back in the day. Weirdly it also has eSports, and seeing as I want to improve my reflexes for sim racing I asked it to tailor things for that.

It was hard actually. Tracking and reacting in different ways to different types of moving targets in fairly pressured environs. All with interesting graphs and readouts to help me track whether I am improving or not, too.

It’s interesting. Not as physically intense, but I would definitely have done anything to have this tech back when I was a proper athlete. Even now, as an overweight dad with a penchant for digital cars and nachos, I’m really glad I got it.

So about 768 calories in less than an hour. Not so bad, especially as I was focussed on the fun, not the burn. Impressive too, that this tech helps me train for that long at all, given that I suffer from chronic fatigue and chronic pain issues. I hurt like hell now mind, but I wasn’t really inhabiting my body at the time, so I really didn’t notice.

VR can help people with fibro, like me. There’s no doubt in my mind.

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