Forbes writer and avid Pokémon GO player JV Chamary has come up with an extensive list of some of the health benefits that Pokémon GO players can experience. These include getting sunshine, physical activity, exploring nature, social interaction and brain training – as explained in the excerpts below:
1. Getting Sunshine
Anyone whose childhood included video games in front of the TV will have heard parents yell, “Go play outside!” Well, Pokémon GO forces you to do just that. Whereas almost all smartphone games can be played anywhere, Pokémon GO must be played somewhere — you can’t do it while sat on your backside.
2. Physical Activity
Motivating yourself to exercise is challenging if you don’t enjoy it. I find running monotonous, for example, so making it less boring encourages me to do it more often. ‘Gamification’ — turning something into a game to make it fun — can help motivation by offering achievements and other rewards. Although some people are able to gamify physical activity with a fitness tracker or smartwatch to compete against themselves, for others shaving a few seconds off a personal best isn’t rewarding enough, which is where an actual game could work better.
3. Exploring Nature
Visiting the open countryside or a local park can feel great when you’re finding urban environments claustrophobic. But our busy modern lives can make an aimless wander around seem like a waste of time (in the UK only 40% of people spend time near greenery during the week, and the main reason they give is ‘lack of time’).
4. Social Interaction
Socializing can be hard, especially for people with certain personality traits. For example, I’m an introvert, a term frequently misunderstood to mean someone who’s shy, anti-social or doesn’t enjoy being around others — none of which is true. In fact, introversion is the result of losing mental energy from interacting with others, causing tiredness, whereas extroverts gain energy.
5. Brain Training
Does Pokémon GO make you smarter? So far there hasn’t been much research, but one study found that, after playing for two months, teenagers had greater social intelligence and cognitive performance (including selective attention and concentration levels). The researchers didn’t find any improvement to memory, mathematical calculation or linguistic reasoning, but this might be because improving such skills would require playing the game for a longer period.