Pokemon Go boosts physical activity, study confirms

Combing the streets for a Bulbasaur or a Pikachu isn't just fun, it's also good for your health.

A Pokemon Go player near the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Chesnot, Getty Images

It's hardly surprising that a game involving searching around for virtual critters can improve your health, but it doesn't hurt to get confirmation from an official study.

A research project published on October 6 jointly by Stanford University and Microsoft relied on data from wearables and search engines to track 32 thousand Pokemon Go players in the United States over a three-month period.

The team found that, "Pokémon Go has increased physical activity across men and women of all ages, weight status, and prior activity levels." Particularly involved players walked 26 percent more every day (that's 1,473 steps) over the course of 30 days. On a larger scale, Pokemon Go players in the US have walked an estimated 144 billion additional steps.

The challenge, according to the study, is sustaining interest and engagement, as many users tend to limit playing time or stop altogether after the initial momentum fades. Even so, the study estimated that Pokemon Go players who continue to walk an extra 1,000 steps daily would reduce their mortality risk by 6 percent, adding around 2,825 million years of addition lifetime to US users.

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