Are there really health benefits to Pokemon Go?

August 9, 2016

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Lead Copywriter

That’s what we keep asking ourselves when we see people wandering aimlessly in the streets and parks of this fine country, staring at their phones and trying to catch Pokemon.

The users swear that it is beneficial to their health, but how?

To us, it looks like people are just lightly strolling through the neighborhood–how could they possibly be getting any health benefits out of the game? Or–gasp!–what about the people who drive to catch Pokemon?

We did a little research and asked our Pokemon-loving friends to see if the claim holds weight. Here is what we found.

1.) It can help with anxiety or depression.
We heard firsthand from people who suffer from anxiety or depression that Pokemon Go helps them get out of the house. People everywhere are proclaiming that playing the game helps with their mental illness and makes them want to get out of bed.

pokemon go depression

pokemon go depression

John M. Grohol, Psy.D. explains at PsychCentral that exercising is an important component to fighting depression, but when you’re depressed, it can be hard to get out of bed. Pokemon Go is getting depressed people out of the house and being physically active, which can help increase endorphins.

2.) It helps in the friend-making department.

We’ve been seeing many users commenting on the social aspect of the app. One would think that the app would make you retreat into your phone, but instead, users like to chat with each other while out and about.

pokemon go depression

One friend mentioned the cross-generational appeal to the game and the conversations people of all ages can have together. As a non-Pokemon Go user, I can even vouch for the spontaneous convos the app encourages: I’ve had random strangers talk to me about Poke-stops when I’m looking at my phone. The app is also helping young people with Asperger’s or autism to socialize with their peers.

3.) It gets you walking. 

We were skeptical at first, but players swear they’re getting out there and moving. One user told us that she clocks about 10 miles more a week because of the app. Another friend mentioned that his kids ask if they can walk to the library and movie theater instead of driving. Others shared stories of weight loss since starting the game. Pokemon Go offers a handy miles tracking system that can help users track their miles. Another way it encourages people to walk is through eggs, where one has to walk anywhere from 1 to 6 miles in order to hatch a Pokemon egg. Unless you’re driving to Poke-stops–and some people are–it’s impossible not to log more steps in a day. Heck, rumor has it that an Austin man walked 70 miles over this past weekend! Walking is a great way to stay in shape, improve heart health, lower cholesterol and reduce risk of diabetes.

Other benefits of Pokemon Go include getting sunlight and learning about history, as many Poke-stops are often at historic landmarks.

After all of our research, we’re pretty convinced that Pokemon Go is healthy for people. Just make sure you don’t walk into a car or off a cliff, please.