Acute effects of virtual reality exercise on young adults’ blood pressure and feelings

Pablo Saiz-Gonzalez, Daniel J McDonough, Wenxi Liu, Zan Gao

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1 Scopus citations


Virtual reality (VR) seems to have the potential to provide opportunities to promote physical activity (PA) in a tun way. This paper aimed to examine the acute effects of three different virtual reality-based exercise bikes on young adults’ blood pressure (BP) and feelings compared to a traditional exercise cycling session. Four exercise sessions (immersive VR cycling, two non-immersive VR cycling, and traditional cycling) were completed by 36 young adults (22 females; Mage = 23.6 years). BP was measured immediately before and after each session using a BP cuff and exercise-induced feelings were assessed via an established survey immediately after each session. Participants’ previous experience with VR was used as the covariate in the ANCOVA with repeated measures. Significant main effects were observed across cycling sessions for systolic blood pressure [F (2, 29) = 3.04, p = 0.02, η2 = 0.38)] and feelings [F (3, 32) = 7.74, p < 0.01, η2 =.42]. In particular, immersive VR and traditional cycling significantly' increased systolic blood pressure compared to the two non-immersive VR sessions. Moreover, immersive VR significantly increased feelings compared to the two non-immersive VR sessions, whereas these two non- immersive VR exercises had significantly greater increased feelings compared to traditional cycling, respectively. Findings suggest immersive VR-based exercise cycling may lead to higher exercise intensities compared to non- immersive VR cycling. Further, immersive VR cycling yielded higher feelings compared to non-immersive VR and traditional cycling Thus, immersive VR-based exercise can be a fun and physically' active health promotion tool among young adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)711-719
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health Promotion
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2023

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  • Diastolic blood pressure
  • Exergaming
  • Immersive VR
  • Non-immersive VR
  • Systolic blood pressure


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