Playing 'Pokémon Go' could make you a healthier person, study suggests

A new study has found that “Pokémon Go” not only allows users to catch ’em all, but also gets them noticeably more active than non-players in the process.

Hanzhang Xu, a graduate researcher at Duke University School of Nursing, presented her findings at a recent American Heart Association meeting.

For her study, Xu and her team enlisted 167 iPhone owners to download and play “Pokémon Go” from June 15 to June 31, 2016. The participants were asked to record their steps using the iPhone Health app during the trial period, as well as to report their steps from before they began using the app.

The results showed that the participants, who on average walked close to 5,600 steps a day before playing the game, saw their average step count increase by close to 2,000 steps. The improvements were even more pronounced in the participants who had the lowest levels of physical activity before beginning the study, as they saw their average step count increase by an extra 1,000 steps.

According to the researchers, the additional steps translated to an 8% decrease in the risk of having a heart attack or stroke for high risk individuals.

Xu and her team also reported that playing “Pokémon Go” doubled the likelihood that participants would reach their 10,000 step goal on any given day.

The study, however, was taken during the game’s cultural peak, when it was virtually impossible to visit any monument or landmark without finding players searching for elusive creatures.

“The initial interest may decline over time,” she admitted to HealthDay. “Therefore, we would like to see whether playing Pokémon Go has long-term health benefits for players.”

With this in mind, the recent update to the app, which added 80 Pokémon from the popular Gold and Silver games, might be just what the doctor ordered.

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