By Andrew Miller, Health Sciences; Michael Bacigalupo, Health Sciences; Abbey Hammann, Health Sciences; Matthew Horsley, University of Cincinnati; Kendall Lyman, University of Cincinnati; Robbie Lynch, University of Cincinnati; Maya Pentecost, University of Cincinnati; Aaron Shepherd, University of Cincinnati; Alaina Tarr, University of Cincinnati
Advisor: Susan Kotowski
Abstract: The usage of virtual reality (VR) in exercise has been known to have an overall positive impact. Virtual reality can improve an individual's endurance, performance, and motivation in addition to decreasing RPE (rating of perceived exertion). This study investigated the effects of perceived environment on exercise performance using VR. The exercise movement utilized in these trials was bicep curls. The subject pool was a sample of convenience with an average age of 20.5 years in males (n=4) and 22 years in females (n=6). Males had a standard curling weight of 15 lbs. and females of 10 lbs. Subjects completed trials with both their non-dominant and dominant arms in each environment. The environments included a baseline (no VR), serene scenes from National Geographic Lions documentary, and stressful or intense scenes from the movie Captain America: Civil War. Recorded variables included heart rate, RPE, time, number of repetitions, and motivation level. In addition to quantitative data, qualitative data was also collected. A significant difference (p < 0.05) was found when comparing the baseline versus action scene and the action versus relaxing scene. Likewise, motivation was significantly higher during the action spouts when comparing baseline or relaxing scenes. Overall, action scenes resulted in a significant increase in the repetitions completed in both the dominant and non-dominant arms, while the relaxing scenes did not necessarily cause a significant difference. Use of VR may be dependent on the specific scenes involved and further research should be completed to test this hypothesis.