Pokemon Go has been in question ever since its launch, but its fans were always quick to point out its positives. Millions of players were wandering around with their eyes glued to their smartphones, putting energy into catching Pokemon. The risk of hurting yourself or others while playing the game proved real as well. However, optimists said that those players were getting a little exercise while doing it.
Pokemon Go may not improve your health
But now, a study published in the British Medical Journal suggests that the fitness boost was a “short-lived phenomenon.” The location-based app requires gamers to take to the streets to catch on-screen creatures like Snorlax and Pikachu in real-world locations.
According to researchers, keen players walked an average of 955 steps a day in the first week of using the augmented reality-based game. The extra exertion dwindled in no time, and by the sixth week, participants were not taking more steps than they were before downloading the app.
According to the World Health Organization, adults must get around 150 minutes of aerobic physical activity every week. If you spread it equally throughout the week, it comes to 21.4 minutes of exercise every day. This is double of what the augmented reality-based game provides, according to The Los Angeles Times, which did some math to come up with this. Also this was only for the first week when the location-based game was most addictive.
“Pokemon Go has been suggested to improve public health by promoting physical activity. In our study population, however, the results indicate that the health impact of Pokemon Go might be moderate,” the researchers noted.
Not a real workout
The authors noted that interventions designed to increase walking typically raise the number of steps by 2,500 daily.
“Even if smaller amounts of physical activity might also be important for health outcomes, the increase in steps from Pokemon Go, as with many physical activity interventions was not sustained over time,” they said, adding that the game also poses a risk in terms of injuries and road accidents.
The study looked at about 560 avid Pokemon Go players who accomplished a “trainer level” of five or higher. Their behavior was compared to more than 600 people who had not downloaded the game app. All the players involved were from the U.S. and aged between 18 and 35. The members of the study group were using the iPhone 6, which records the number of steps a user takes.
The researchers, however, were open to the possibility that the game does more for users than their step counts would show. The researchers noted that other potential advantages might exist as well, like improved mood and increased social connectedness.