FitXR dance classes on Oculus prove virtual reality fitness really works
Show off your moves.
Dancing is hard. Dancing is work. Dancing will get you fit. But did you ever think to try it in virtual reality? FitXR (formerly BoxVR) has offered boxing classes in VR since 2017, and added dance programs in November. These dynamic workouts get the blood flowing. Studies show dancing makes you happier than other forms of exercise, and making a weekly habit of it can lower the risk of death by 18 percent. If you like instructor-led classes and own an Oculus Quest or Oculus Quest 2, then you simply must try FitXR.
Take it from somebody who's done more than 150 Beachbody On Demand workouts since quarantine began. FitXR is the real deal when it comes to fitness, and while the payment structure is less than ideal, it's still cheaper than a gym membership or other premium streaming services out there.
The user interface is fairly straightforward: You start in the lobby of a swanky fitness facility and navigate through large TV screens to select your workout. Then you're transported into the session with a handful of other real people. You're always competing to earn a top score, which adds just enough incentive to keep burning. (But yes, you can play solo.)
What's great about FitXR
- FitXR offers excellent workout programs
- Songs, trainers, styles, and class lengths vary to suit all tastes
- New classes are added on a rolling basis
During my brief two weeks with an Oculus Quest 2 and FitXR, I tried a small variety of basic dance classes ranging from about 3 to 20 minutes each. Most of the music shifts between EDM and hip hop. Even the shortest workouts are just enough to break a sweat.
I went into some of the longer sessions overconfident because I am in decent shape, but dance is a disorienting form of fitness — for me, anyway. Trying to keep up is challenging when you're not familiar with typical dance moves. But like any form of fitness, it's about learning the basics and building up from there through dedication and repetition.
New workouts are added to the program on a regular basis, and there are even in-game events to participate in. It keeps the programming dynamic and interesting, but therein also lies one of the seeming flaws in the app.
What's not so great about FitXR dance
- In-app purchases for new classes will add up very quickly
- Your headset will get sweaty and dirty
- Animation leaves something to be desired
FitXR has a base price of $29.99, but you could easily spend another $40 or more on additional packs, depending on your musical preferences. Unless you already have the $299 Oculus Quest 2, then FitXR is probably not worth considering. As a luxury experience, FitXR wildly entertaining and a great workout that's still way cheaper than Peloton. But is it worth the huge investment to become your primary form of exercise? Probably not. For those who are on the fence, however, you should definitely take the plunge.
There's also the obvious concern of putting a $299 piece of tech over your sweaty head as you jump around. You'll need to clean the headset regularly if you want it to last. At the very least, a silicon eye cover for the facial interface foam is a necessity. Otherwise, you'll be left to wash it manually and use a salad spinner to dry it out.
Character models and animations are perfectly comprehensible, but FitXR just doesn't look great by 2020 standards. If you value function over form, this might be the best in VR fitness, but if you want to be enthralled by the quality of the visuals at the same time, you may want to look elsewhere.
FitXR is a great workout that's also a lot more fun than most other methods, so if you've already got a VR headset, it's absolutely worth checking out.
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