The only thing my 13-year-old son wanted for his birthday last month was a virtual reality headset – something called an Oculus Quest 2.  A few days before his birthday, as I was debating spending a big chunk of money on yet another electronic device, one of my patients started telling me about her new workout regimen.  She started telling me about her obsession with this game that she had downloaded to her Oculus headset.  Her kids didn’t even know she owned the thing – but she was sneaking away to put it on and play a game called Supernatural.  Curious, and always in pursuit of new fun ways to move my body, I went ahead and bought my son his coveted Oculus – and promptly downloaded the game.  I have to admit –  I have become obsessed with this game as well!  

I’m not a big fan of most video games – I find chasing and destroying bad guys rather boring and uninventive.  I also tend toward motion sickness with virtual reality experiences.  However, Supernatural doesn’t bore me or make me want to vomit.  

Once you get into the game, you have two lightsaber things in your hands – one is black and one is white.  You get to pick your workout music – anything from heavy metal to classical music – and each group of songs comes with a specific program tailored to that song.  Once you choose your playlist, you are transported to a location for your workout (anywhere from the desert to Iceland to the Great Wall of China) and these black and white ball things start flying at you.  You have to hit the black ones with your black lightsaber and the white ones with your white lightsaber, all the while squatting and ducking to stay within these triangles that come at you.  You end up turning around every which way, which allows you to see the amazing scenery that is incredibly real and inspiring.  

Although it sounds weird, it’s amazingly fun and challenging and doesn’t feel like a workout – more of an immersive experience.  My kids laugh at me – apparently, I’m pretty wild with my lightsaber swinging, but I could care less.  I’m having a ball!  And, as an added bonus, after a few songs, I am dripping sweat and breathing like I’m playing hockey.  

As if hitting things with full power while listening to music you love isn’t enough, after each song, you are given a scorecard – listing your accuracy and power and other ways to measure yourself.  I’m not very tech-savvy, but I’ve read that you can connect your account to your Apple watch (if you have one) and/or compete with others on boards, etc.   

For those of you that already have a workout that you love and can’t stand the idea of changing it up, don’t try this out – as you might have to rethink everything.  For those of you that are struggling to find a way to move your body that doesn’t feel like exercise or involve a trainer or a class, I challenge you to give it a try.  If you don’t like it, surely someone in your life would love to play with the Oculus.  My son loves this Walking Dead game (that makes me want to vomit and doesn’t interest me much) and it sounds like there are plenty of other games to keep your brain and body engaged.  I haven’t convinced my son to let me bring the thing to work yet, but perhaps someday I will bust the thing out at your appointment and let you see what it feels like to be standing on a cliff above an ocean, listening to Tears for Fears and swinging wildly at these balls flying at your head.  

keep life fun – stay curious – be creative

As always, if you need me, you know where to find me

Courtney Younglove, M.D.. 

ATTENTION LAWRENCE PATIENTS: 18th Street is closed at Wakarusa until further notice due to construction. You can access our parking lot via Research Parkway and Research Park Drive. Expect traffic delays and make sure to give yourself plenty of time to get to our office.
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