Last Year created a lot of reluctant converts. Months ago, in less dire circumstances, we swore we'd never do any number of strange-sounding things: attend Zoom weddings, embrace ring lights, feed a sourdough starter. And yet here we are, making do.

Fitness and V.R. might seem like an unlikely pair. And I was skeptical at first. [Isn't the entire point of V.R. that you can explore far flung places and bend the laws of physics without leaving your sofa?]

There are several V.R. fitness apps on the market, but Supernatural is the flashiest and the most advanced of the bunch. It costs $19 a month after the first month, making it more like budget gym membership than a piece of workout equipment.

But it delivers for the price. It has become my primary form of exercise, and it has helped me stay sane and active even while we're cooped up at home.

Supernatural, which was developed by the V.R. studio Within, works a bit like Beat Saber, a popular V.R. game. As with Beat Saber, you play by hitting a series of objects as they fly toward you in time with music.

Supernatural's black and white orbs tell you which hand to hiot them with, and flying triangles force you to squat and lunge to get out of their way. At the end of each workout, you're given a score, with points for accuracy and power.

To answer the first question everyone asks : Yes, it's a real workout. Most Supernatural sessions are 10 to 20 minutes long and are labeled light, moderate or hard; an extra-long workout left me so sore I could barely stand upthe next day.] 

I ended most of my workouts drenched in sweat - a hazard when you're working with pricey electronics, and a common enough experience that Supernatural users can order a free silicone sweat guard to attach to their headsets. 

The best thing about Supernatural is the coaches who lead each workout. They're cut from the same peppy, affirming cloth as SoulCycle and Peloton instructors, and they make it p;ossible to briefly forget that you're working out alone in your house rather in a crowded studio.

Another plus is that every Supernatural workout takes place in some impossibly beautiful landscape -I've battered orbs inside an Ethiopian volcano, next to a placid mountain lake in Patagonia and on top of the Great Wall of China. 

''The fundamental flaw of most fitness systems is that at your core, you're doing something that is not fun, whether it's pedaling on a stationary bike or running on a treadmill,'' he said. 

''We use the tool of V.R. to transport you beyond the walls of your apartment and give you an activity that is intrinsically fun to do.''

One downside of Supernatural beyond the monthly subscription cost, is that it's compatible with the Oculus Quest and Quest 2 headsets at the moment. These headsets are not cheap [base-level models of the Oculus Quest 2 start at $299], and they've been in low supply this year.

Another downside for the privacy conscious Oculus is owned by Facebook, which recently sparked a furor in the V.R. world be requiring Oculus users to log in using their Facebook accounts.

The World Students Society thanks author Kevin Roose.


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