We never thought we'd see the day when video games or smartphones were actually good for people. But one game has found a way to reach low-activity audiences better than mobile apps dedicated to health and fitness by a significant margin. Haters, step back: It's Pokemon Go.
Microsoft researchers recently reported that Pokemon Go increased activity levels in its users by 25 percent in the U.S. over a period of three months. That's an estimated 144 billion steps of additional activity.
The GPS-enabled mobile app, which has more than 25 million active players in the U.S., comes at a time when less than a quarter of American adults meet official activity guidelines. That's a big deal, considering that physical inactivity contributes to 5.3 million deaths worldwide every year.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers collected cloud-stored information from users of the Microsoft Band, an activity-tracking wearable. They then searched each user's Bing queries for terms related to the game, according to the MIT Technology Review. Searches like "how to play pokemon go" and "pokemon go eevee evolution" indicated that someone is an active user.
They compared players' activity stats 30 days before they started the game to those from 30 days after and found that it increased a person's steps by 1,473 per day on average.
If you're still not convinced of Pokemon Go's ability to literally change lives, the study concluded that it increases activity levels in women and men of all ages and weights, meaning that it motivates people who are overweight and obese to exercise.
The Pokemon Go app is free for iOS and Android users. For those of you who may be falling off the bandwagon, get excited about daily quests, an upcoming feature that'll prompt you to complete tasks for rewards.
So if you're looking to lose weight and get fit, lighten up. Your solution may be as simple as catching 'em all.
What Do YOU Think?
Do you play Pokemon Go? Do you use fitness apps to stay fit? How does technology play a part in your fitness routine? Let us know in the comments!