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Research Reveals Link Between Active Lifestyle and Playing Pokemon Go on App’s Anniversary Celebration
2019-01-07 15:57:12
Michael Fox

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Photo source: Tumisu via Pixabay

The craze of catching “pokemon” began in the US a year from now, and its anniversary was celebrated with the release of a study in the Games for Health Journal.

People began seeing “trainers” on the ground with their handset mid-July last year, and they would hear them speculate on where “rare pokemons” could be spotted.In just a matter of weeks, one person on the field became two people then five people then up to 10 people—giving birth to a craze that was only once played on a couch using a GameBoy.

The craze of catching “pokemon” began in the US a year from now, and its anniversary was celebrated with the release of a study in the Games for Health Journal.It revealed a link between playing active video games, such as Pokemon Go, and gaining an active lifestyle.Apparently, a trainer could reap health benefits out of finding and catching a pokemon outside of their home as compared to when they spent time playing a video game on a couch or a desk.

This research by Kent State University researchers looked at the ability of smartphone-based apps like Pokemon Go to increase physical activity and decrease sedentary behavior.The records of activity of more than 350 college students have been assessed.This record would include their physical and sedentary behavior the week before they started playing the Pokemon Go app as well as the following week and the weeks that came after that.

Their responses revealed that the students’ daily walking activity increased significantly by more than 100 percent and that their sedentary behavior or rate of inactivity decreased by 25 percent.The records showed as well that several weeks after downloading Pokemon Go, the frequency of playing lowered to just above 50 percent.It was seen that the gamer’s activity and sedentary behavior have decreased after their frequency of game play went down.However, their sedentary behavior remained significantly lower at just about 18 percent compared to their rate of physical activeness.

"It is possible that games like Pokémon GO may help people initiate a positive health behavior change, such as more daily walking and less sitting." Jacob Barkley, the study’s co-author said.

More Active Smartphone-based Apps

Soon after the launching of the app and the emergence of the craze that made headlines worldwide including about the app’s consecutive blackouts due to extremely high usage, studies have been linking active video games like Pokemon Go to game enthusiasts in order to help people, especially those who are overweight, gain a fit lifestyle.

A recent study, published in March of 2017, was presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention / Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health 2017 Scientific Sessions.The researchers revealed players of the Pokemon Go app could easily accomplish the 10,000 daily steps goal due to the mechanisms of the game, as “trainers” try to complete their collection of pokemons.

One of the study’s co-authors, Hanzhang Xu, is a graduate student at Duke University School of Nursing in Durham, North Carolina. "We wanted to determine if Pokémon Go can provide an enjoyable way to engage people in regular physical activity," she said.

They looked at whether playing the game could increase a person’s physical activity, and they asked for the participation of about 160 Pokemon Go trainers.The results of their observation revealed that, on average, the total number of participants walked more than 5,600, and that the trainers have over 27 percent chance to accomplish the daily steps goal while playing the game compared to less than 16 percent chance they could do it before the launching of Pokemon Go.

The researchers also came up with a conclusion that the activity that had to be done to follow the game’s mechanism has benefited the players who are overweight or obese the most.They also said they noticed in the records there are some trainers who were able to walk nearly 3,000 steps per day and that those who were overweight or obese walked approximately 3,000 additional steps per day.

"Our findings suggest that active-play games, such as Pokémon Go, may encourage people who live sedentary lifestyles, who otherwise may not participate in traditional forms of exercise, to increase their physical activity." Xu said.

She said a boost of 2,000 additional steps would seem small to some people, but it’s much better than remaining in the couch all day without much activity.According to the researchers, individuals leading a sedentary lifestyle increase their risk of a heart attack or stroke by eight percent with such behavior.

"Considering the low level of physical activity in the United States, doing some physical activity is always better than sitting on the couch," she said. "While current physical activity guidelines recommend activity such as running or swimming to promote health and fitness, it should be noted that the best form of physical activity is the one that people will do.We think our study could have implications for the design of other digital health interventions that encourage people to exercise more.”

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