I can unequivocally say that, at least in my non-expert, typically lazy, and lover of NO workouts ever created, the answer is Y-E-S. 100% YES. Beat Saber IS a workout.
And, Beat Saber beats my butt! I said it.
I initially had zero interest in playing Beat Saber; I had no desire to learn it either. But, man I’m so glad that I did. This former lazy mama and lover of no workouts ever have been reformed. And, my cardiovascular health thanks me.
For those that don’t know what Beat Saber is, it’s a virtual reality (VR) rhythm game that takes place in a surrealistic neon environment where you use virtual lightsabers to slice through blocks representing musical beats, either from the music you would typically hear on the radio (via music packs or MODs) or from Beat Saber’s own music library. To say it takes a great deal of hand and eye coordination would be a gross understatement.
Did I mention that I’m the least coordinated person on the planet? Yup. I wasn’t always this way. Shoot, I was the one in the club doing “dance battles” in the middle of the dance floor. But today, not so much. But, this? This I can do! And, if you’re getting in your groove just right, you’re dancing. Unless you’re a robot with no rhythm. Then, maybe it’s not your jam.
Our family received the Oculus Quest 2 this past Christmas (it was my idea!) – See my previous post for more on us dipping our toes into VR. After my husband and son had their initial pass at diving into the VR world, I put the goggles on to see what all the hoopla was about.
It really, really struck me how “real” it felt. It was so foreign to me. Still is to an extent. I may have freaked out just a bit when the blocks first started coming at me, and this was in easy mode. FYI, there’s easy, normal, hard, expert, and expert+. So, easy should’ve been, well, easy. It wasn’t. Not for me anyway. But I pushed through all the screams of feeling the blocks were going to “get me” and starting to really enjoy it. I even started grooving to the beat. I was dancing! This was new ground for me.
Now, remember, I’m lazy and out of shape and desperately need to get healthier, so I wanted to see what my stamina could tolerate. Let’s just say, it wasn’t much. Not at first. Maybe 1 song. If that. I failed songs several times, over and over again. But, I was hooked. I wanted to keep going. I wanted to get better, and out of easy mode! 🙂
After a week or so, I was starting to feel comfortable moving into normal mode, then finishing songs, then actually doing two (2) songs. Then, more and more. Hook, line, and sinker. Beat Saber was my jam.
It was time to venture into the extra music packs, outside of Beat Saber automatically gives you (which are really awesome). We bought Billie Eilish, Lady Gaga, Linkin Park, among others. I knew these songs, so following the beat came a bit more naturally to me. I started to feel more and more comfortable behind my trusty lightsabers (controllers).
And, let me just say this, I was sweating my tail off and my heart was racing 180+ bpm for the duration of my gameplay. Mind you, I’m out of shape, so my “zone” is different than your zone, but I know my body was getting a workout, and I loved it! I was actually having FUN while exercising. Imagine that. And, on top of that, my stamina was improving and I was starting to see a difference in my arm strength as well as my overall focus and clarity. All of it. Improved.
So, when I asked myself, “Is playing Beat Saber actually considered exercise?”, I knew it sure felt like it to me, but perhaps not in the typical scope of what most would consider bonafide exercise. But then again, everyone’s mileage may vary. For me, it was a way to get me moving, focus on my stamina, while handling an insane amount of coordination requirements. When I searched around trying to learn more about what type of physical benefits I might actually be receiving, I was shocked by what I found.
According to the VR Institute of Health & Exercise, someone who plays for a sustained period of ~40 min and has a bpm zoom near that I experience, on average, burns ~575 calories. That’s amazing, and to me, not shocking. That’s nearly the same amount of calories as a game of tennis or running!
I’m not playing Beat Saber to lose weight. I’m playing it because it’s FUN. But, if I can lose weight, tone up, get stronger, and perhaps improve my overall focus and clarity, then that’s a bonus in my eyes.
Do you play Beat Saber? Has it changed your physical appearance in any way, or perhaps your overall health? Let me know!
P.s. my next post will be on why I love the VR app Supernatural. It’s meant to be an exercise app and it’s NOT a doozy at all. It’s a whole-body workout that just so happens to take place in the most amazing locations, all from the comfort of your living room. And, it’s amazing!
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