A video game that promotes a healthy lifestyle? Parents...rejoice!
In case you missed it, Pokemon Go combines the virtual and the real world for an interactive map experience that challenges you to visit certain landmarks, and of course - catch Pokemon. Users are rewarded for the steps they take, and the real-life landmarks they visit. Users that drive to these landmarks don't accumulate points as fast as those that walk, so it really does encourage you to get some exercise.
Now, researchers from Kent State University have offered some data to support the idea that this game does indeed promote a healthy lifestlye. They asked over 350 college students to report their physical activity and sedentary behavior a week before they downloaded the game, the week immediately after, and again several weeks later.
“While the largest increases in walking and decreases in sitting occurred during the first week after downloading, when the game was new to the user, those positive effects largely persisted weeks later,” said Jacob Barkley, PhD student at Kent State University.
“It is possible that games like Pokemon Go may help people initiate a positive health behaviour change, such as more daily walking and less sitting,” Barkley added.
So there you have it! Pokemon Go has proven that an exciting world that mixes physical activity and video games can exist and can possibly encourage healthy lifestyles. With virtual reality well on it's way to becoming mainstream, perhaps the future of video games will offer parents and grandparents a hopeful future in which their kids can enjoy video games while still getting the exercise they so desperately need.