According to the National Institutes of Health, walking can lower your risk for health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Walking can strengthen your bones and muscles, help you burn more calories and lift your mood. For decades, this has been supported by research, but inspiring people to walk has been one of the biggest challenges facing healthcare professionals.
Has the gaming industry found the answer? With more than 500 million downloads since July 2016, Pokémon Go appears to be encouraging large sections of the community to participate in physical activities that are leading to positive health benefits. As such, researchers are speculating whether this is simply a fad delivering co-incidental health benefits or a sustainable model for future healthy living practices.
So far, the research has been promising. The new gaming trend appears to be a starting point for sedentary people to begin an active lifestyle. Participating in the game has been associated with a significant increase in physical activity among young adults.
But the game is not without its skeptics. Some worry it is still too much screen time for children. There have also been reports of video game-related accidents by those getting caught up in the moment and not paying attention to where they were walking or driving.
Bottom Line: Let common sense rule the day. Pokémon with your friends in a safe park. Don’t Pokémon and drive or play in or near traffic. Like it or not, gaming is here to stay.
Written by: Wendimere Reilly, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern