Pokemon GO is a mobile game that really wants players to get up, move around, and explore. Some players prefer to find ways to cheat and not actually move around the real world, but it seems like that may be the minority. Since the game’s launch people have been arguing about whether the phenomenon actually is making people more active or not, but a new study from Duke University School of Medicine has some new data to inform those debates.

The researchers at Duke believe that games like Pokemon GO definitely do increase physical activity for users who previously had a sedentary lifestyle. Although the game isn’t likely to increase the health of players who are already getting enough exercise, it is doing a lot of good for people who usually get little or no exercise.

Ying Xian (MD, PhD at Duke) explains the findings in a recently published journal article…

“The best form of physical activity is the one that people will do, not necessarily the ones that have the highest energy expenditure… Even if marathon runners or regular joggers won’t benefit much from Pokémon Go, the game provides an alternative way to engage people who live in a sedentary lifestyle and otherwise would never participate in any traditional form of exercise.”

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One of the most impressive points in the article was that, “an additional 2,000 average steps, if applied to high-risk groups, would reduce the annual risk for a heart attack or stroke by roughly eight percent. That reduction, applied to even a fraction of the millions of people at risk, could prevent thousands of deaths and save millions of dollars in health-care costs a year.” You can find the full journal article here.

An increase of 2,000 steps (roughly one mile) per day may not sound very impressive to the average active person (who usually gets 10,000+ steps per day), but if Pokemon GO is helping high risk groups add 2k steps to their daily total and decrease the risk of heart attacks or strokes, then the game has certainly done some good for the world.

What do you think of the study? Has Pokemon GO increased your physical activity? Let us know in the comments.

Pokemon GO is currently available on iOS and Android devices in select regions.

Source: Duke University

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