Does virtual reality enhance the psychological benefits of exercise?

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Teviot Scientific Publications Ltd.


The purpose of the present study was to investigate if virtual reality technology might enhance the psychological benefits of aerobic exercise in a laboratory setting. In this study, 121 college students (72 females, 49 males) were randomly assigned to one of four 30-minute bicycle experimental or control conditions (i.e. exercise alone, exercise with virtual reality technology, virtual reality without exercise, and a control videotape condition watching someone bicycle). The Activation- Deactivation Adjective Check List (AD-ACL) measuring energy, tiredness, tension and calmness was administered immediately before and after each experimental or control condition as well as administered prior to bedtime. Our results suggest that virtual reality may enhance the energy and tiredness levels of females hours after the completion of the exercise and virtual reality experience, but that this is not the case for males. Our results found no enhanced virtual reality effect immediately following exercise participation but did find that exercise participants had more energy (with or without virtual reality) relative to control subjects. Exercise and virtual reality both resulted in less tiredness compared with controls. To our knowledge, this is the first empirical study investigating virtual reality and the psychological benefits of exercise. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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