• The Physiological and Perceptual Responses to Cycling Exercise in a Fully Immersive Virtual Environment

      Highton, Jamie M.; Nowlan, Gerard (University of Chester, 2016-09)
      An innovative piece of digital technology which has recently come to the attention of sports scientists as a potential ergogenic aid is the use of immersive virtual reality (VR) technology. Whilst the effects of VR on performance have begun to be explored, the physiological and perceptual responses to exercise when combined with VR remain relatively unknown. Accordingly, this study investigated both the physiological and perceptual responses to exercise in a fully immersive virtual environment viewed through a stereoscopic head-mounted display. Thirteen recreationally active males (n=12) and females (n=1) (age = 24.9 ± 4.6 y; body mass = 78.7 ± 6.3 kg; stature = 178.6 ± 3.7 cm; VO2max = 55.1 ± 7.1 ml·kg-1·min-1) completed a time to exhaustion (TTE) test under control (CON) and virtual reality (VR) conditions in a repeated measures randomized crossover design. Effect sizes (ES) and magnitude-based inferences were calculated for all variables between conditions using a predesigned spreadsheet (Batterham & Cox, 2006). TTE (ES = 0.78; ±0.37), enjoyment (ES = 0.85; ±0.49) and positive affect (PA) (ES = 0.78; ±0.65) were all greater in the VR compared to CON condition. HR and RPE, analyzed over a 6 minute isotime, were lower at minute two only (ES = 0.33; ±0.38) and (ES = 0.88; ±0.52) respectively, in the VR compared to CON condition. There were no changes in VO2 peak, b[La] and negative affect (NA) between conditions. The use of a fully immersive VR headset in combination with a traditional cycling task was shown to elicit improvements in TTE performance and increase affective responses and enjoyment of the exercise, likely due to a dissociative effect. These findings support the use of fully immersive VR in the exercise domain as an ergogenic aid.
    • The physiological and perceptual responses to cycling exercise in a fully-immersive virtual environment

      Highton, Jamie M.; Williams, Thomas (University of Chester, 2016-09)
      With recent advancements in technology, fully-immersive virtual reality (VR) is now fast emerging as the latest piece of equipment that may revolutionise the way in which athletes are able to train. However, as of yet, few have examined the perceptual and physiological responses to exercising in VR and the subsequent impact it may have on performance. Using a repeated measures randomised crossover design, thirteen recreationally active participants (age = 24.9 ± 4.6 y; body mass = 78.7 ± 6.3 kg; stature = 178.6 ± 3.7 cm; VO2max = 55.1 ± 7.1 ml·kg-1·min-1, P-VO2 =344.7 ± 49.7) completed a time to exhaustion test (TTE) at 80% of P-VO2 under a control (CON) and virtual reality (VR) condition, with a minimum of 48h between trials. TTE (ES = 0.78; ±0.37), enjoyment (ES = 0.85; ±0.49) and positive affect (ES = 0.78; ±0.65) were all greater in the VR condition compared to CON. Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) increased similarly over time in both conditions with the exception of minute 2, whereby RPE was lower in the VR condition (ES = 0.88; ±0.52). There were no changes in VO2 peak, b[La] and negative affect between conditions. These findings provide evidence to suggest that during the early stages of high intensity activity fully-immersive VR has the potential to reduce RPE. Further to this, VR also appears to increase the enjoyment of exercise at a high intensity and therefore increase the motivation to continue exercising. Future research should continue to explore this rapidly developing technology.