It turns out that Pokemon GO isn’t just a fun game that’s managed to hook millions of players. It’s also responsible for increasing the level of physical activity of those players. And the more you move, the longer you’re likely to live. Generally speaking.
It’s almost universally accepted that your level of physical activity affects your overall health and well-being. To put it bluntly, people with sedentary lifestyles are likely to die at an earlier age than people with active lifestyles. Which is bad news those of us who sit working on computers all day.
A research project involving Microsoft Research and Stanford University has found that Pokemon GO could help you live longer. The paper, titled, Influence of Pokémon Go on Physical Activity: Study and Implications [PDF link] explores the impact Pokemon GO has on those who play it.
The study found that “Pokemon Go leads to significant increases in physical activity over a period of 30 days, with particularly engaged users increasing their activity by 1,473 steps a day on average.”
Today I'll exercise
— Lauren Jane (@laurenjanebee) October 11, 2016
The researchers estimate that while the study was being conducted, Pokemon GO directly led U.S. citizens to walk an additional 144 billion steps. If the current userbase continued playing the game over the longterm, Pokemon GO would add “2,825 million years of additional lifetime” to its U.S. users. Which is a frankly astonishing number.
Pokemon GO Is the Easy Exercise Option
This research was conducted using a combination of “wearable sensor data and search engine query logs for 31,793 users over a period of three months”. A total of 1,420 Pokemon GO players was identified, and their results were compared with the larger control group.
With such a small pool of Pokemon GO players being tracked, these results should be taken with a healthy pinch of salt. The popularity of Pokemon GO is also already on the wane, so the levels of engagement needed to make a noticeable difference to the health of the nation are unsustainable.
However, with all that said, anything that increases your level of physical activity is good. And Pokemon GO does just that. And, let’s face it, there are worse ways of getting some exercise. Like jogging endlessly around the park. Or doing circuit training in the gym. In that case, I choose Pokemon GO. How about you?
Image Credit: Vodafone Medien via Flickr