In a groundbreaking study, which is four times larger than any previous research, we can say with confidence that FitXR provides an effective and joyful workout for the body and mind.  This is based on the findings from a new randomised control trial accepted in the leading Games for health journal.

The research is published by Professors Felipe Schuch and Brendon Stubbs who are both top 20 globally ranked exercise researchers, together with Julia Teixeira and Eduarda Bittencourt, researchers on Prof. Schuch’s team.

In a randomised study, the researchers included 83 young adults and tested the hypothesis whether 15 minutes of exercise in FitXR was as effective as the same exercise in the physical world.  Initially, half were randomised to exercise with FitXR first, and the other half were randomised to complete the same exercise in the physical world.  The two groups then swapped. 

What did the research show?  Well, measures of energy expenditure, fitness, perceived effort, enjoyment and mental health were all significantly higher in the people when they exercised in FitXR than the exact same exercise outside of the VR environment.  

Professor Brendon Stubbs said: “For the first time in a robust study, we can say with confidence that FitXR is an evidence-based way to experience many physical and mental health benefits whilst having more fun. The results are really exciting and really demonstrate the value of incorporating FitXR to lift people’s mood and work people’s hearts.”

Professor Stubbs also touched on the fact that until now, robust research in VR fitness has been lacking. “If VR fitness is going to translate into real world impact and have any credibility, robust research has been urgently needed. The field cannot make claims about any program working with small studies with less than 40 people. Therefore, bringing the first adequately powered randomised study is an important milestone for the field and the findings are exciting.  It could really help us tackle the physical inactivity epidemic”.

The Senior author Prof Felipe Schuch says that, with this study design, we have “robust evidence of how much the VR environment can shape the user’s experience, promoting a fun activity while exercising at moderate and even vigorous intensities.” He adds that these findings “suggest that VR exercises may be a fun alternative for people who struggle to exercise at higher intensities.”

The paper will be published online soon – in the meantime, an abstract is available below.


Virtual reality (VR) exercise aims to offer positive affective and sensory experiences through an immersive experience rich in audiovisual stimuli. Notwithstanding, there is a paucity of large sample size studies comparing the acute effects of VR exercise compared to a matched exercise performed in a non-VR environment. The study compared the acute effects of a VR exercise session versus a matched non-VR exercise session in affect, pleasure, enjoyment, perceived exertion and heart rate. This is a crossover randomized clinical trial. The time, difficulty and exercise type of the non-VR exercise were matched to VR exercise. Before and immediately after each session, participants responded to the Borg’s Perceived Exertion Scale, the Feeling Scale and the Felt Arousal Scale, and the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (PACES). The analyses were conducted with Generalized Linear Models, Wilcoxon’s and T-test for paired samples.

A total of 83 adults (40 females) aged 35.46 years were included in the study. Participants in the VR condition had a greater increase in affect (mean change difference=0.95, 95%CI=0.83-1.06, p<0.001), arousal (mean change difference=0.37, 95%CI=0.23-9.50, p<0.001). The pleasure and enjoyment median after the VR session was higher. In conclusion, the immersive VR exercise was more strenuous, but resulted in a better affective response, greater pleasure and enjoyment