BMJ: Pokemon GO won't keep you fit; game only produces shortlived improvement in exercising

BMJ: Pokemon GO won't keep you fit; game only produces shortlived improvement in exercising
Remember those steamy summer nights when you'd be walking for hours, smartphone in hand, trying to catch Pokemon while playing Pokemon GO? And when your spouse or parents or friends looked at you like you were Mr. Mime, complaining that you were spending too much time on that dang game, you responded that all of that walking was making you fit and healthy.

As it turns out, any health effects from playing Pokemon GO were shortlived according to a report in the British Medical Journal. For this survey, the medical publication recruited U.S. Pokemon GO players aged 18 to 35. All of them had to use an Apple iPhone 6 because of its ability to automatically record the number of steps taken while being held. Participants were paid $2 (and your mom told you that you couldn't make any money playing Pokemon all day!).

The bottom line is that Pokemon GO players started fast when they downloaded the game. During the first week of game play, they showed an average increase of 955 steps a day over the non-players, who kept walking at their baseline pace. By the sixth week though, the additional steps tallied by players over non-players was only 130, and the players were back to their baseline. Considering that interventions designed to get people up and walking add 2500 steps a day over a longer term period, we'd say that Pokemon GO really doesn't appear to provide any long lasting fitness benefit. The BMJ said so, too.

The Journal did point out the limitations in its survey. Not every player uses an iPhone 6 to play, and steps were counted only when a player had the iPhone 6 in his/her hand. In addition, the survey covered U.S. players only. On the other hand, there are sure to be some Pokemon GO players who lost a lot of weight. Video game players are usually not active; for many, playing Pokemon GO brought about a major change in lifestyle.

source: BMJ via TechCrunch

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