Pokémon Go has health benefits?

Just like the rest of my fellow millennials, Pokémon Go is undoubtedly, my recent obsession. Ever since I started playing it, I’ve been having a hard time explaining people my newfound interest in walking. My parents feel it is a waste of time, but I disagree. And now, Science has my back too!

This week on Talk Back Thursday, we discuss the possible health benefits associated with the global phenomenon, Pokémon Go.

Walking as a recreational activity:

Because the game is a GPS based augmented reality game, i.e. it tracks your location and records your steps; people have actually stepped outside and started walking to catch Pokémon’s.  This is the most deceptively fun form of exercise! According to Matt Hoffman, DNP, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Nursing, this quest to “catch ’em all” is great news for public health.

Mental Health:

Since the game’s launch a few weeks ago, Twitter has been flooded with stories wherein people have begun interacting with strangers thus instilling a sense of community. People battling depression and social anxiety are overcoming their fears in a quest to catch em’ all! Says Dr. John Grohol, “The challenge has always been, if you’re depressed, your motivation level is nonexistent; So, you want to go out and get some fresh air, or even take a shower, and it can be a very difficult thing to even comprehend, much less do. I think the impact of something like this, this game, can really be beneficial.”

Know more about places:

To catch Pokémon’s, you use Pokéballs, which you can get when you get when you visit a Pokéstop. And Pokéstops just happen to include many landmarks and historical markers, including those hidden ones in your own neighborhood.

While this may not seem like a health benefit, education correlates with better health outcomes.

Also, since this is a non-violent game, children can play it with their parents which may help lessen the technology tension that divides the generations.


But like all good things, there are some cons too. Numerous news reports regarding Pokémon Go related accidents have been covered in the media, and potential criminals have been taking advantage of people playing Pokémon Go. But aren’t the pros outweighing the cons?

Here’s my take on this; Embrace the game and let your childhood dreams come true, however, never lose sight of your civic sense. I would love to hear your opinions on this in the comment section. Let us know what you think we should talk about in the next Talk Back Thursday.

-Shruti Joshi.

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