Playing Pokemon Go may be good for your health, say scientists

New York: Playing Pokemon Go may be good for your health, say scientists who have found that the popular physically-interactive game promotes exercise and reduces sedentary behaviour.

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

Researchers from Kent State University in the US assessed the ability of the smartphone-based video game Pokemon Go to increase walking and decrease sedentary behaviour, like sitting.

They asked over 350 college students to report their physical activity and sedentary behaviour the week before they downloaded Pokemon Go, the week immediately after downloading the game, and again several weeks later.

The team found that relative to the week before downloading the game, students doubled their daily walking behaviour (102 percent increase) and reduced sedentary behaviour by 25 percent during the first week after downloading.

When comparing behaviour several weeks after downloading the game, to the week before downloading, walking and sedentary behaviour was still 68 percent greater and 18 percent lower, respectively, even though frequency of game play decreased by 58 percent, researchers said.

"While the largest increases in walking and decreases in sitting occurred during the first week after downloading, when the game was new to the user, those positive effects largely persisted weeks later," said Jacob Barkley, PhD student at Kent State University.

"It is possible that games like Pokemon Go may help people initiate a positive health behaviour change, such as more daily walking and less sitting," Barkley added.

Researchers suggest that while many smartphone functions may promote sedentary activity, they are hopeful that playing physically-interactive, smartphone based video games like Pokemon Go may help promote walking and reduce sitting in college students.

The study was published in the Games for Health Journal.

Updated Date: Jul 08, 2017 13:00 PM

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