There was an article in The Telegraph recently, on the growth of the latest fad in the fitness sector, which is the virtual reality workout.
In the article the writer Jessica Salter gives an introduction to this new home workout phenomenon and speculates on its benefits.
For those new to the virtual home workout, it unites the power of the internet with the convenience of exercising at home to add an innovative and exciting dimension to fitness.
Using the internet and a broadband connection to take part in exercise classes led by instructors, sometimes hundreds of miles away, with interaction guided by a display screen and a camera adding individual participants to a class, such home workouts are fast becoming a working model for early adopters and are particularly popular with those who like to cycle their way to fitness.
You may have seen the television adverts for Peloton recently, which uses this very model.
Of course, home workouts have been around for a long time and most of us interested in a fitness lifestyle have been tempted by the concept at some time or other. Just think about all those random pieces of gym equipment (some of which can be quite expensive) lurking under our beds, at the back of our wardrobes, or being used as impromptu clothes dryers.
For a lot of people, such equipment is purchased and then discarded for a whole number of reasons (lack of physical impact or motivation, or because these small pieces of equipment usually only give a taster of what a full workout can deliver).
It is possible of course to workout effectively at home, even if temporarily. Full body workouts at home that have pace and focus can deliver benefits and can also maintain fitness. If the objective however is to build fitness (strength, stamina or muscle) then I always advocate either a gym routine, or a structured outside workout programme.
The reason I encourage this is two fold.
Firstly, having access to specialised gym equipment and expertise is vital in moving forward on a demanding exercise programme.
Or, to put it another way, it takes more than a foldable stepper from QVC to build a body.
Secondly, I am a strong believer in the value of the social element when exercising outside of the home. This is because, in my opinion, fitness is a lifelong pursuit and should be an integral part of one’s life. To maintain an exercise programme’s momentum requires it to be sustaining and for this to happen socialising is crucial to move in the right direction.
It makes the effort worthwhile and the path travelled enjoyable if it is shared with good and like-minded company.
So, want to get fit to a high standard and for longer? Then ditch the home gym and sign-up to a real workout, either in a gym, or in the great outdoors.
Because if you do that you’ll feel better for it and you’ll also enjoy your journey to fitness.