The newly-founded Virtual Reality Institute of Health and Exercise has announced that many popular virtual reality games and apps are more effective at burning calories than your treadmill routine. That’s not ‘may be more effective’, that’s ‘are more effective’. That’s a pretty strong statement.


The organisation has announced its new program which aims to independently, and in a controlled environment, assess VR games on this basis. They’ll be publishing these results in a rating system, detailing which virtual reality games are most effective exercise.


The idea of using games to exercise first came about, of course, with the 2006 launch of the Nintendo Wii console. Motion controllers were used with the ostensive purpose of getting people moving and gaming together as a family. It was all pretty idyllic, especially that Wii Sports game that turned out to be a real laugh. But many of us quickly became aware that those motion sensing remotes could be worked with just a wrist-flick, so everyone started retiring to the sofa to play their Wii games, and eventually sold their Wii on eBay or, when it wouldn’t sell, resigned it to the dump. Bye-bye Wii.


Virtual reality may be the force that brings physical activity back to the gaming world. This time, you won’t be able to get away with little wrist-flicks to do your gaming bidding. You’re going to need to do the appropriate motions if you’re going to play. Physical movement is just part and partial of the VR gaming experience, and in any case, the immersive nature of VR makes it hard not to move your body in response to what you’re experiencing.


Aaron Stanton, director of the Virtual Reality Institute of Health and Exercise, explained that the program was created after he noticed he’d worked out for no less than 100 hours in VR… without even realising it. So, the Institute got to work on metabolic testing, quickly ascertaining that many VR titles work better at burning those calories than a treadmill. It is, says Stanton, the best piece of exercise equipment he has ever purchased.


So what VR games should you invest in if you want to quit the gym?


Check this out…


Tilt Brush burns around 2-4 calories a minute. Tilt Brush! You can paint and draw and burn calories at the same time! That’s incredibly cool.


The crazy shoot-em-up, Raw Data came in at the same level as Tilt Brush.


Then, there’s boxing game Knockout League, which burns a whopping 8-10 calories per minute.


The highest ranking calorie-burner by far, however, was another boxing title, Thrill of the Fight, which will burn you over 15 calories a minute. That puts it on par with a good sprint.


You can see the full list of games the Institute has rated so far here.