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Does virtual reality enhance the psychological benefits of exercise?

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Abstract

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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... Females showed a larger difference in reported relaxation between the VR alone (no cycling) and both the cycling alone and cycling with VR conditions when compared to males. Plante et al. (2003b) also used a cycling task and reported gender differences in ratings of energy. Males reported higher energy when cycling alone, cycling with VR, or experiencing VR alone than in a baseline control condition that did not involve VR or cycling. ...
... The application of VR to sport has resulted in several beneficial outcomes. When compared to control conditions, tasks that incorporate VR have shown improved adherence (Annesi and Mazas 1997), better race strategy performance (Hoffmann et al. 2014), higher cognitive functioning , improved mood and reduced tiredness (Plante et al. 2003b), increased workload (Chen et al. 2015), and higher enjoyment (Mestre et al. 2011;Murray et al. 2016). However, the control condition used in most research has involved performance of the sport on its own. ...
... It is also noteworthy that better performance or psychological outcomes have not always resulted when VR is used (e.g. Lee et al. 2012;Legrand et al. 2011) suggesting that other factors may moderate its effectiveness. As noted above and shown in Table 3, these factors may relate to the VR system or user, such as level of immersion (Ijsselsteijn et al. 2004), competitiveness (Anderson-Hanley et al. 2011Nunes et al. 2014;Snyder et al. 2012), social presence (Irwin et al. 2012;Lee et al. 2012;Murray et al. 2016), self-selection of tasks (Legrand et al. 2011), attentional focus (Mestre et al. 2011), and the mood altering effects of the task itself (Plante et al. 2003b). ...
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Virtual reality (VR) technology is being increasingly used by athletes, coaches, and other sport-related professionals. The present systematic review aimed to document research on the application of VR to sport to better understand the outcomes that have emerged in this work. Research literature databases were searched, and the results screened to identify articles reporting applications of interactive VR to sport with healthy human participants. Twenty articles were identified and coded to document the study aims, research designs, participant characteristics, sport types, VR technology, measures, and key findings. From the review, it was shown that interactive VR applications have enhanced a range of performance, physiological, and psychological outcomes. The specific effects have been influenced by factors related to the athlete and the VR system, which comprise athlete factors, VR environment factors, task factors, and the non-VR environment factors. Important variables include the presence of others in the virtual environment, competitiveness, task autonomy, immersion, attentional focus, and feedback. The majority of research has been conducted on endurance sports, such as running, cycling, and rowing, and more research is required to examine the use of interactive VR in skill-based sports. Additional directions for future research and reporting standards for researchers are suggested.
... Three studies assessed the effect of 'distraction' techniques on feelings of energy after a bout of MVPA (Plante et al., 2003(Plante et al., , 2006Russell et al., 2003). One study of 121 students found that engaging in MVPA and engaging in MVPA while using virtual reality led to increases in energy compared to pre-exercise scores (Plante et al., 2003). ...
... Three studies assessed the effect of 'distraction' techniques on feelings of energy after a bout of MVPA (Plante et al., 2003(Plante et al., , 2006Russell et al., 2003). One study of 121 students found that engaging in MVPA and engaging in MVPA while using virtual reality led to increases in energy compared to pre-exercise scores (Plante et al., 2003). In a second study of 53 participants, those who exercised without distraction, those who read while exercising, and those who watched a video while exercising all showed increases in feelings of vigor, with no significant differences seen between groups (Russell et al., 2003). ...
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Problem College students report high levels of mental and emotional exhaustion. As part of the 24-h activity cycle (24-HAC), sleep, sedentary behavior (SED), and physical activity are health habits that may exert independent and interactive effects on daily aspects of wellbeing and health in this cohort. The purpose of this systematic review was to synthesize the available evidence on relationships between the individual components of the 24-HAC and feelings of energy and fatigue among college students. Method Three databases were searched using terms related to sleep, SED, light-intensity physical activity (LIPA), and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), energy, fatigue, and college students. Peer-reviewed, primary studies published in English using valid and reliable measures were included. Results Fifty-two unique studies were identified for inclusion. Sleep quality and quantity are likely positively associated with feelings of energy and negatively associated with feelings of fatigue; however, studies on LIPA and SED were less common leading to inconclusive findings. Most studies reported on associations between MVPA and feelings of energy or fatigue and indicate positive and negative relationships, respectively. Conclusions To date, most research has focused on relationships between MVPA and feelings of energy and fatigue. More research is needed to further characterize relationships between the other behavioral components and these outcomes of interest. Additionally, future research should include measurements of all four behavioral components within the framework of the 24-HAC to more fully elucidate how these behaviors interact to impact feelings of energy and fatigue in college students.
... The remaining studies did include some form of control condition. The typical control condition required that participants engage in the sport or exercise without any external stimulus being present (e.g., [5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14]). These manipulations have been referred to as a "blank environment" [13]. ...
... Most researchers who have examined affective states have tended to measure these before and after, or only after, the VR task [5,11,[14][15][16]. A handful of researchers have used both concurrent and post-task measures [7,13,40] as done in the present study. ...
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Engaging in physical exercise in a virtual reality (VR) environment has been reported to improve physical effort and affective states. However, these conclusions might be influenced by experimental design factors, such as comparing VR environments against a non-VR environment without actively controlling for the presence of visual input in non-VR conditions. The present study addressed this issue to examine affective and attentional states in a virtual running task. Participants (n = 40), completed a 21 min run on a treadmill at 70% of Vmax. One group of participants ran in a computer-generated VR environment that included other virtual runners while another group ran while viewing neutral images. Participants in both conditions showed a pattern of reduced positive affect and increased tension during the run with a return to high positive affect after the run. In the VR condition, higher levels of immersive tendencies and attention/absorption in the virtual environment were associated with more positive affect after the run. In addition, participants in the VR condition focused attention more on external task-relevant stimuli and less to internal states than participants in the neutral images condition. However, the neutral images condition produced less negative affect and more enjoyment after the run than the VR condition. The finding suggest that the effects of exercising in a VR environment will depend on individual difference factors (e.g., attention/absorption in the virtual world) but it may not always be better than distracting attention away from exercise-related cues.
... cognitive, psychological, and motor functions are stimulated [23][24][25]. It will be more challenging to acquire functional motor skills in traditional exercises where the internal focus is reinforced than in the goal of the task. ...
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functional balance during goal-directed functional tasks in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. Methods: Twelve volunteer postmenopausal women with osteoporosis were randomly assigned to virtual reality (VRT, n = 6) and conventional multimodal (CMT, n = 6) training groups. The exercise was performed for 6 weeks, 3 days weekly, and 18 sessions. Using a force platform, functional balance assessments were made through four dynamic tasks, including performance- based limits of stability (LOS), curve tracking (CT), sit-to-stand (STS), and turning before and after 18 sessions of treatment. Each task’s time-dependent center of pressure (COP) variables was separately calculated via Kistler-Mars software. Results: The COP variables of LOS and CT tasks were significantly improved after 6 weeks of CMT and VRT (P ≤ 0.05). In the VRT group, the rising index (P < 0.00), COP sway velocity in STS, and Turn sway were significantly reduced (P < 0.05). Following the VRT, the mean difference of forwarding maximum COP excursion increased (P = 0.03), and errors in CT (P = 0.03) significantly decreased. Conclusion: The VRT and CMT improved the COP sway parameters during weight-shifting tasks. The VRT was more effective than CMT in increasing the ability to control weight-shifting and dynamic functional tasks in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. This approach in training has suitable potential to provide convenient error feedback learning. Keywords :Virtual reality training · Conventional multimodal training · Postmenopausal Osteoporosis · COP sway · Weight shift · Dynamic balance
... [36][37][38] In addition, these observations are consistent with several clinically based studies that have noted VR-based exercise to increase PA enjoyment and selfefficacy. 20,29,[39][40][41][42] Given the inverse relationship between enjoyment and RPE, 43 lower RPE during VR versus traditional stationary cycling might be perceived as expected. RPE was classified as ''very light'' during VR but ''somewhat hard'' during traditional stationary cycling. ...
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Objective: Integrating novel technologies, such as virtual reality (VR), into traditional exercise apparatuses (e.g., stationary bikes) may assist in promoting physical activity (PA) participation among young adults. Therefore, this study's purpose was to examine young adults' systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP) change (BPpost - BPpre), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), enjoyment, and self-efficacy during VR, exergaming, and traditional stationary cycling sessions. Materials and Methods: Forty-nine college students (34 females; Mage = 23.6 ± 3.4 years; MBMI = 23.8 ± 3.1 kg/m2) participated in three separate 20-minute stationary cycling sessions: (1) PlayStation 4 VR; (2) Xbox 360 exergaming; and (3) traditional stationary cycling. Participants' systolic and diastolic BP change was measured by using an Omron HEM-705CP digital BP cuff. Further, RPE was assessed by using the modified Borg RPE Scale and enjoyment and self-efficacy were evaluated by using validated questionnaires. Results: A multivariate analysis of variance indicated significant differences for systolic BP change, RPE, enjoyment, and self-efficacy between the three cycling sessions (F(2, 144) = 3.3-32.4, P < 0.05, [Formula: see text] = 0.04-0.3). Specifically, participants had significantly higher enjoyment and self-efficacy and lower RPE during VR cycling compared with the other two cycling sessions despite similar or higher change systolic BP during the VR cycling session. There was no statistically significant change in diastolic BP between the three cycling sessions (P > 0.05). Conclusion: Incorporating VR equipment with traditional stationary cycle ergometers may be favorable when seeking to promote enjoyable PA in college students. To further support VR exercise's efficacy, future studies with more rigorous research designs are warranted.
... IVN technology might further advance the field of nature in indoor settings by generating a more immersive and life-like experience. Although there is a general lack of research regarding the effectiveness of implementing IVNs in the workplace, some research has demonstrated that IVNs can induce stress reduction in experimental trials on healthy adults [50,[58][59][60]. Moreover, exposure to IVN has been found to be a more effective tool to reduce anxiety levels and improve mood states when compared to images of nature presented on a traditional computer screen [29]. ...
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Being exposed to natural environments is associated with improved health and well-being, as these environments are believed to promote feelings of "being away" from everyday struggles, positive emotional reactions and stress reduction. Despite these positive effects, humanity is becoming increasingly more distanced from nature due to societal changes, such as increased urbanization and the reduced accessibility of natural environments. Technology is also partly to blame, as research suggests that people replace nature contact with increased screen time. In this cross-section between nature and technology, we find technological nature which is progressing towards a point where we may be capable of simulating exposure to real nature. Concerns have been raised regarding this technology, as it is feared it will replace real nature. However, research suggests that virtual nature may have a more positive impact on society than a mere replacement of real nature, and this review propose several areas where virtual nature may be a beneficial addition to actual nature (Enable), help people reconnect with the real natural world (Reconnect) and "boost" human-nature interactions (Augment). Based on the current research and theoretical framework, this review proposes guidelines for future research within these areas, with the aim of advancing the field by producing high quality research.
... The application of VR has the potential to influence a range of outcomes, including performance, physiological, and psychological effects that are observed concurrently or following exercise (Neumann et al., 2017). Some evidence suggests that the use of VR can increase physical exertion during exercise (Plante, Aldridge et al., 2003) and long-term adherence to an exercise program (Annesi & Mazas, 1997 (Legrand, Joly, Soudain-Pineau, & Marcel, 2011;Plante, Frazier et al., 2003). The differences in findings across studies suggests that there may be multiple factors that can impact upon outcomes and that further research is needed to better understand these factors, particularly those that are salient to VR technology. ...
Article
Objectives: The aim of the study was to test the effect of rowing against a moderately challenging competitor compared to an extremely challenging competitor on performance and motivation. The effect of trait competitiveness was also examined. Design: Sixty-seven male participants were classified as either low (n = 34) or high in competitiveness (n = 33) and assigned to either a moderate or extreme challenge condition. Method: Participants initially rowed to set a baseline level of performance. Participants rowed again but were accompanied by an on-screen competitor that was set to a speed higher than the baseline performance to create a moderate (5% higher) or extreme (20% higher) challenge level. Results: The pattern of performance differed between the challenge conditions. Participants in the extreme challenge condition showed an initial high level of power output and distance rowed, but subsequently showed a steep decline in performance that persisted until the end of the row. In contrast, participants in the moderate challenge condition showed a lower initial level of performance followed by a more gradual decline. Moreover, these participants showed a trend of increasing performance towards the end of the row, whereas participants facing an extremely challenging competitor showed a trend of decreasing performance. Trait competitiveness did not moderate the pattern of results. Conclusions: The findings show that challenge level should be considered in the design of VR-based exercise programs and in matching competitive interactions among exercisers in virtual environments.
Chapter
Walking is an easily accessible and effective exercise, hence it can be easily participated as a part of a person’s everyday. However, due to changes in our social environment such as the increase in single-person households, hectic lifestyles and an unprecedented pandemic, the number of people who walk alone is increasing. We found that people lack motivation when they walk alone; to address this, we designed an interactive full-body 3D personalized avatar in augmented reality (AR) as a virtual walking partner. Our research goal is to increase the motivation of walking exercise using an AR 3D avatar. This approach focuses on the social aspects of physical exercise, that is, cooperation and competition with a partner. The proposed system has two types of use cases: (1) walking with an avatar, and (2) walking with a remote user using an avatar. We investigated the effect of designed interactions with a virtual walking partner for both cases. In addition, we designed a method of movement synchronization between a user and an avatar using only a head-mounted display (HMD) without separate sensors. The preliminary evaluation of the system indicated positive response from participants. We believe that our findings support the idea that designed interactions with a virtual walking partner can increase a person’s motivation of walking exercise.
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Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)-enhanced exercise training is a novel approach to promoting health. Previous systematic reviews have focused on the effectiveness of VR interventions in clinical settings. The present study was the first systematic review to investigate the effectiveness of exercise-based VR and AR training as preventive measures in improving physical activity, psychological outcomes, and physical performance of a healthy population when compared with traditional programs and no-exercise controls. This study included 22 research articles published between 1997 and 2017, involving 1,184 participants aged 18 to 79. The results showed a large effect on physical activity (Hedges' g = 0.83, SE = 0.18), a small to moderate effect on physical performance (Hedges’ g = 0.31, SE = 0.09), and no significant effect on psychological outcomes. VR training programs were particularly shown to be effective for enhancing frequency of physical activity and strength of physical performance. Only two studies examined the effectiveness of AR training programs on physical performance, and the findings concerning those effects were not separately reported. A list of plausible moderators was tested but that variable was not significantly associated with the effects of VR on the three outcomes. Limitations and future directions are discussed.
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Virtual reality (VR) technology is being increasingly used by athletes, coaches, and other sport-related professionals. In this paper, we worked on the new style of immersive environments for human motion performance analysis. In the first part of this paper, a theoretical presentation describes the goal and area of this type of test. In the second part of this paper, a survey of the available immersive systems will be exposed. Twenty articles were identified and coded to document the study aims, research designs, participant characteristics, sport types, VR technology, measures, and key findings. From the review, it was shown that interactive VR applications have enhanced a range of performance, physiological, and psychological outcomes. The specific effects have been influenced by factors related to the athlete and the VR system, which comprise athlete factors, VR environment factors, task factors, and the non-VR environment factors. Important variables include the presence of others in the virtual environment, competitiveness, task autonomy, immersion, attentional focus, and feedback. Lastly, a practical framework will be designed in actual-time with the attendees: a low-price immersive environment based on a Microsoft Kinect, a Razer Hydra, and an Oculus Rift Head Mounted Display device. We worked to improve an experiment to analyze perception-action coupling in soccer with simulated virtual opponents enabling to analyze the decision-making of a real keeper. Additional directions for future research and reporting standards for researchers are suggested.
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This study sought to evaluate the association between perceived physical fitness, actual fitness measured by VO2max, daily physical activity measured by an ambulatory activity monitor, and coping with daily stress. One hundred and thirty participants completed a series of questionnaires measuring perceived fitness as well as daily stress and coping levels each day for one week. Participants were also provided with a digital physical activity monitor (Yamax Digi-Walker SW 200) and instructed to wear it throughout the seven day assessment period. Upon completion of the week evaluation, participants then were evaluated for actual physical fitness by treadmill testing. Multiple regression and effect size analysis revealed that perceived fitness predicted daily coping better than actual fitness and daily physical activity. Coping was unrelated to age, gender,VO2max, and physical activity. Results suggest that perceived fitness may be a better predictor of coping with daily stress than actual physical fitness or physical activity.
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A great deal of attention has been given to the association between physical fitness and psychological health. The purpose of this view is to examine recent developments in the burgeoning exercise and psychological health literature and to explore avenues for future research. The current review focuses on research that has examined enhancement of psychological health and well-being among nonclinical populations since 1980. Four areas of psychological functioning are reviewed: (1) psychological well-being and mood, (2) personality and self-concept, (3) physiological stress responsivity and (4) cognition. Exercise appears to improve mood and psychological well-being as well as enhancing self-concept and self-esteem. Exercise appears to do little for personality functioning. Furthermore, mixed empirical support exists to suggest that exercise influences stress responsivity and cognitive functioning. However better research designs and procedures are still needed. Theories regarding the connection between exercise and psychological functioning as well as suggestions for future research are offered.
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The efficiency of an aerobic conditioning program (jogging) is compared to cognitive therapy (stress inoculation) and a waiting list control in modifying self-reported chronic stress. The participants were community residents; 48 were females and 25 were males. Treatment sessions were conducted over a 10-week period with subjects meeting in small groups for 1 hours per week. The State/Trait Inventories, a Tension Thermometer and a submaximal bicycle ergometer test were administered pre, post and follow-up. Repeated measures, multivariate analysis of variance indicated that both treatments were effective in reducing stress compared to the waiting list control and that these changes were maintained at 3-month follow-up. Multivariate analysis indicated that participants with higher initial levels of aerobic fitness did not report less stress, while participants who obtained higher levels of fitness during the conditioning program fared no better in reducing stress than their counterparts who obtained lower levels of aerobic fitness. These findings are of interest because they suggest that the psychosocial components of the fitness program were active ingredients of treatment rathee than the effects of improved cardiovascular functioning.
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Summarized literature on the development of psychological research on exercise and fitness and conducted an archival study of empirical research published in 10 periodicals (1990–1994). N. Triplett's (1897) study of social facilitation effects in cyclists is recognized as the 1st study on exercise, followed by a period of scattered studies till the 1970s. Periodicals had about 40 exercise publications, which were analyzed along 5 dimensions: field of study, academic unit of author, type of exercise studied, exercise paradigm, population, and topic of investigation. Exercise research has appeared both in sport/exercise and health-related periodicals, with the latter used more often by researchers in units unrelated to physical activity. Chronic and aerobic exercise were studied more often than acute and nonaerobic exercise. Exercise adherence, mental health, psychophysiological reactivity and perceived exertion were studied more than other topics. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Examined whether the exercise environment affected individuals' anxiety responses, and the time course of those responses. 16 male and 18 female undergraduates either sat quietly (control) or exercised in either a laboratory or a setting of their own choosing. State anxiety measures were assessed at baseline, during activity, and following 15 min of rest after activity. Analyses indicate that the exercising conditions significantly reduced anxiety, whereas the control condition did not. Additional analyses indicate that anxiety increased from baseline during exercise and then was reduced upon exercise cessation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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The cardiovascular fitness, blood pressure, resting pulse, lung capacity and body fat of 246 subjects were measured and each subject completed activity, mental health and mood questionnaires. The results of this study support the hypothesis that participation in physical activity, rather than cardiovascular fitness, is the factor associated with better mental health and mood. Higher levels of physical activity were associated with better mood scores unless the individuals were unfit. This research has implications for how physical activity is prescribed; the emphasis needs to be on performing physical activity rather than improving fitness and should not be beyond the physical capabilities of the individual.