Playing Pokemon GO Increases Physical Activity; Unexpected Health Benefits Revealed

By Sarene Mae Butao , Mar 09, 2017 04:02 AM EST

Research says that Pokemon GO users are more likely to reach their 10,000-steps-per-day goal once they play the mobile phone game. Those who are couch potatoes or those who were overweight prior to playing Pokemon GO seems to have benefitted most from the game. The study identified that playing this famous smartphone game might be increasing people's daily steps, especially from those young adults that have low physical activity levels.

Pokemon GO players were able to move through physical location while capturing animated creatures that appear on their smartphone and mobile devices. The game made it to front-page news headlines when it was released in the middle of a craze last July 2016, according to Mirror UK.

Hanzhang Xu, one of the researchers, said the research aims to know whether Pokemon GO can truly become an "enjoyable means to have people participate" in regular physical activity. "Our findings suggest that active-play games, such as Pokemon Go, may encourage people who live sedentary lifestyles, who otherwise may not participate in traditional forms of exercise, to increase their physical activity," noted Xu.

The researchers made 167 iPhone users to take screenshots of their daily steps from their iPhone Health app in between June 15 and July 31, 2016.

Prior to playing Pokemon GO, the participants walked at an average of 5,678 steps. However, their number of steps increased to 7,654 right after playing the game. Therefore, there was an average increase of 1,976 steps per day.

The researchers also reported that participants are twice as likely to reach 10,000 daily steps right after playing Pokemon GO. This study could help design other digital health interventions that will make people exercise more. These findings are to be presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention Scientific Sessions


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