Runtastic turns to VR for optimal workouts

Runtastic turns to VR for optimal workouts

Some people avoid technology altogether when it comes time to switch off stress and turn on a feeling of health and well-being. They put on a pair of shoes and start walking. They get on a bike and start cycling. They stretch their legs and start jogging. Unwired, gadget-free, and, yes, data-free, they work out. The industry that has adapted technologies to fitness, however, is not interested in such a crowd. Rather, the fitness-band, heart and pulse-tracking vendors of hardware and software apps are far more interested in those who would like to see measured results and health-maintenance data realtime using their products. Runtastic is in this camp of those in the business offering ways to optimize fitness efforts. Runtastic offers apps with names such as Six Pack, Sleep Better, Strength & Toning, and Runtastic Me. They work with the company's hardware. Data syncs to where users view online training logs, data analysis and access online services, such as training plans.

They are taking exercise workouts to the very next level—with virtual reality. Welcome to their idea of exercising with a headset. Announced Monday, Runtastic has been working on strength and toning exercises for Oculus Rift, the virtual reality headset. Florian Gschwandtner, Runtastic CEO and co-founder, believes integrating Runtastic with Oculus Rift indicates a game-changer for the fitness industry." According to the company, exercises include squats, lunges and the popular 7-Minute Workout, additional leg and butt workouts, yoga routines "and more in the pipeline." Gschwandtner said his team is working to integrate more activity types and they have found "there is really no limit." He said next year "we could see Runtastic and Oculus engaging gym fans, runners, bikers and more."

Runtastic also intends to leverage the VR experience for the user with future "locations," enhancing the workout experience. The idea is that customizable surroundings will allow each user to create the "perfect, personal fitness zone or meditation oasis."

In the workout videos, 3D avatars take on the role of personal trainers, and these avatars demonstrate each exercise. Activity stats are tracked just as they would be with a Runtastic app. When you are done you get a detailed summary of your workout.

The company will show Runtastic's VR experience next month at CES in Las Vegas.

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