Exergaming can be exergasmic — distracting you from the discomforts of exercise and motivating you to repeat the workout day after day, because you're engaged in a virtual reality video game that thrills you. There are programs for strength-building and aerobics that get you into a jump-rope challenge, a spacey dance routine, sword-fighting, fitness boxing and cycling.
Entertaining. Highly motivating. And, oh yeah, potentially nauseating. VR sickness is a real phenomenon that can make you feel lousy after even a brief encounter with the fantasy world within your head-mounted VR device. It's a form of motion sickness that can trigger a headache, nausea, vomiting and disorientation.
A study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research reveals that exergames, like the wildly popular "Beat Saber," leave many people feeling slightly queasy and unsteady even 40 minutes after removing their VR device — and 14% of the study's participants who had exergamed for 50 minutes still felt extremely ill at that point. FYI: "Beat Saber" puts you in a fantastic neon environment where you slice up blocks in sync with musical rhythms using two sabers of contrasting colors.
There's not much you can do to dodge VR sickness until game designers create environments that aren't so disorienting. So allow yourself time to recover before going on about your day. Or, hey, here's an idea: Tune in to an exercise class on your computer or TV, or head outdoors for a 10,000-step walk.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at Cleveland Clinic.
(c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
King Features Syndicate