Take your fitness regime to the next level with our guide to the best VR fitness accessories.
It’s a familiar challenge — finding a way to get a good cardio workout at home. There are plenty of machines designed to achieve just this, but treadmills, bikes, and ellipticals are expensive, bulky, and, let’s be honest, boring.
Enter virtual reality on the Oculus Quest 2 (now the Meta Quest 2) wireless headset, which can transform a small patch of living room into a customized fitness center. VR provides personalized fitness training on demand, in locations as diverse as a gorgeous beach or the surface of Mars. Boring, it is not.
The fitness options on Quest 2 are diverse and effective, but they all come with the same problem: exercising in VR goggles can be uncomfortable. The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way. Pick up these accessories and you’ll create a welcoming environment for your sweaty exertions. The better news is that none of these extras will break your bank; big increase in quality of life, small investment of cash. And isn’t a healthier you worth it?
If you’re just getting into VR because of the fitness options, you’ll want to bone up on some crucial basics. First, here’s how to avoid motion sickness in VR. That probably won’t be much of a problem when you’re working out, as workout routines have you moving in real space, but not virtual locations. It’s good info for when you start to branch out into other VR activities, though. More immediately practical is how to clean your VR headset and lenses — they’re going to get very sweaty, very quickly, and proper hygiene will not only keep your headset smelling springtime fresh, it’ll also ensure you’re always seeing crisp, clearly-defined images.
It’s also worth mentioning that you don’t have to use a Quest 2 to work out in VR; technically, the apps work on any headset. Quest 2 is the best option in our opinion, because it’s both wireless and affordable, but check out our review of the best VR headsets to help choose the tech that’s right for you. Then, when you’re ready to get your sweat on, tick off the items on this shopping list.
1. Vented insert
Work out in VR a few times and you’ll immediately discover the biggest problem: sweat. Having half your face sealed into the headset isn’t a problem for watching movies or playing games, but the heat and sweat from your workout will fog up the lenses in no time.
Look on forums and you’ll find plenty of homebrew solutions, everything from wiping the lenses with spit to taping maxi pads to your forehead. However, we think that the easiest solution is a vented insert, which allows air to escape the mask without letting light in. There are plenty of options out there, but we like this one from Kiwi, for its effectiveness and easy installation.
2. Prescription lenses
For any VR headset to work properly, its lenses have to be the correct distance from your eyes. The Quest 2 comes with an insert to add a little extra space to help anyone who wears glasses compensate, and it works just fine for most VR usage. But why not just skip the glasses altogether?
Many companies offer prescription lenses for Quest 2, and for far less than you might expect. Installation takes just a few seconds; simply pop off the default lenses and add the prescriptions. The process is easily reversible if several people share a headset. We had great results using VR Lens Lab, even with a strong prescription.
3. 6-ft round yoga mat
It’s surprisingly easy to get turned around when you’re in VR. You might be certain you’re dead center only to realize you’ve traveled several feet to the side. The Quest 2 has visual cues to let you know you’re close to the edge of your playfield, but, in our experience, having a physical boundary does a better job of keeping you safely where you’re meant to be.
Work out on a yoga mat and you’ll feel when you’re too close to the no-fly zone. Quest recommends a 6-foot space circle for working out, so we’re recommending that size mat from Schriner, but you can use whatever size and shape makes sense for your situation.
The whole point of using VR as opposed to your phone or laptop is the immersion, so do it right. Headphones shut out the real world and let you focus on your workout, but Quest 2 doesn’t support Bluetooth (officially), so your wireless earbuds are a no go.
Wired earbuds will work, but we found the dangling cord to be a real annoyance while working out. Custom headphones, like these from Amavision, split the buds apart so each can plug into either side of the headset with an extra short cord. And at less than $20, it’s a no-brainer.
5. Rechargeable AA batteries
The Quest’s controllers tear through batteries like they’re Godzilla in downtown Tokyo. The batteries don’t even have to be all the way dead before the controllers start to lose accuracy, which is frustrating at best and a workout killer at worst. Don’t put yourself through the hassle of trying to wring every last drop of energy out of your AAs, just get a bunch of rechargeable ones and swap them out at the first sign of weakness.
You’ll keep the workout interruptions to a minimum without having to constantly top off your copper-top supply. We like this set from Energizer, which comes with 4 AA batteries and a charger.
Energizer Rechargeable AA and AAA Battery Charger with 4 Rechargeable AA Batteries - $17.36 at Amazon
Make sure your VR workouts aren't interrupted by dead batteries with these rechargeable batteries from Energizer.
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Susan Arendt is a freelance writer, editor, and consultant living in Burleson, TX. She specializes in entertainment and tech coverage. You can find more of her work at Wired, IGN, Polygon, or look for her on Twitter: @SusanArendt. Be prepared to see too many pictures of her dogs.