Exercise is essential in maintaining physical and mental health. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, people have had to adapt and find different ways to get a workout in besides just going to the gym. Virtual training has been discovered to have many mental health benefits, including stress relief.

From Eat This, Not That;

Many lifestyle changes have occurred since the COVID-19 pandemic, and in some instances, have improved everyday routines. Employees have had flexibility in a hybrid work situation, and others are able to work from the comfort of their own homes permanently. Another modification many individuals have adapted to—either temporarily or permanently—is performing workout training virtually. Aside from the time-saving benefit of not traveling to a gym and being able to exercise within your own time restrictions, recent research proves that this one kind of workout can be a huge stress reducer when compared to your typical in-person exercise.

You heard that right! Researchers previously discovered that virtual training sharpens neural and cognitive abilities. That was the inspiring basis for this new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, which found that training virtually certainly has its mental health benefits.

Read on to learn more about how this kind of workout can act as an anxiety and stress reducer. And next, check out The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.

Routine exercise is essential to maintaining your overall health and well-being. In some cases, however, performing exercise is not always an option. Some examples are individuals who suffer from chronic cardiovascular disease, or those who are bedridden. These situations are when Immersive Virtual Reality (IVR) can truly become an amazing tool. IVR offers people a complete virtual world via a virtual body.

young woman performing virtual workout stress reducer at home

The research team at Tohoku University’s Smart-Aging Research Center (IDAC) observed young and healthy participants who sat still through a virtual training session. The training was designed in a “first-person perspective,” which created the impression that the avatar’s movements were their own. Prior to and following the training session, the scientists stimulated and evaluated the psychosocial stress response. This was done by taking a measurement of stress (the neuroendocrine stress of the participants). There was also an individual questionnaire for each participant to take that gauged anxiety levels.

woman wearing VR headset for virtual workout stress reducer

The findings indicated decreased anxiety levels and lower psychosocial stress response when the virtual training concluded when compared to the effects after performing actual exercise. Professor Dalila Burin, the developer of the study, explains, “Psychosocial stress represents the stress experienced in frequent social situations such as social judgment, rejection, and when our performances get evaluated.” Burin adds, “While a moderate amount of exposure to stress might be beneficial, repeated and increased exposure can be detrimental to our health. This kind of virtual training represents a new frontier, especially in countries like Japan, where high performance demands and an aging population exist.”

Alexa Mellardo

Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more

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