Is This the Future of Exercise?

The Wall Street Journal did a feature story this week on “5 Total-Body Workout Machines That Put Your Treadmill to Shame“.

While all of the products were intriguing, the one that really captured my attention was the ICAROS Home product.

From the WSJ: Launched in August, ICAROS looks like something you’d find in a NASA lab, not a home gym. The company calls it “active VR”—donning a VR headset, you lay down in plank position, grab its two handles and then fly, ski, swim or drive through virtual worlds by controlling the gyroscopic machine with your body (as it moves, you engage major muscles—with a focus on your core and upper body—and test your reflexes and coordination). “Engaging core muscles and promoting balance is an important aspect of well-rounded fitness, while gamifying a workout keeps you engaged,” said Ms. Crockford. The machine works with VR headsets like the HTC Vive, Oculus Go and Samsung Gear VR, as well as Samsung Tablets.

But a verbal description doesn’t do justice to this machine. Here’s a short promotional video:

I guess I shouldn’t talk about things I don’t know anything about, but since I’ve been doing that my whole life, why stop now.

Let me start by saying that I certainly wish ICAROS the best; they’ve developed a pretty cool product.

I just don’t see how they can make a claim for this to be an exercise machine. Maybe there’s a little bit of work for the core while you’re flying around and laying in a plan position, but other than that, I don’t see much else. I don’t see the arms or legs getting any exercise. But what I question the most about the video is why the woman has to grab a towel after her “workout”. I can’t imagine she worked up a sweat.

On the plus side, I’m sure the VR part is fascinating, and it looks like it would be a fun game to play. But so is Pac-Man, but I wouldn’t call that exercise.

Now of course my critique could be way off, and if I ever got to try it out, I might change my impression completely.

But in the meantime, if this is what the future of exercise looks like, I think I’ll just stick to my pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, and recumbent stationary bike.

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