The time people spend playing Pokémon GO does not count as a workout, according to new research. The team analyzed the effort and the movement of players, reaching the conclusion that the physical activity done while hunting Pokémon does not add much to the overall movement requirements for an adult.
According to the World Health Organization, people need to do a lot more exercising than what playing Pokémon GO involves.
Pokémon GO Doesn't Enhance Physical Activity Significantly
Pokémon GO has registered more than 500 million downloads since July 2016 when it was launched.
In the game, players have to walk in order to "catch" Pokémon, which should result in an increase in physical activity.
For the research, Katherine B. Howe of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and her team involved 560 subjects aged 18 to 35. The subjects resided in the United States and used iPhone 6 phones, which allowed them to record the daily number of steps they took every day.
Before installing Pokémon GO, players walked an average of 4,256 steps every day, and during the first week this number rose to 5,123. In the following weeks however, the amount of physical exercise players did decreased. After the first week of playing, this average went down to 4,994 by the end of the second week, 4,693 by week three and reached 4,499 steps by the end of the fourth week.
"By the sixth week after installation, the number of daily steps had gone back to pre-installation levels," the researchers reported in The BMJ.
Research Proves Pokémon GO Is Not As Helpful
According to the research, those who played the game were encouraged to take an extra 955 steps every day on average during the first week after downloading and installing the game. This only enhanced daily exercise with 11 minutes of extra walking each day, which is just around half of what the WHO recommends.
According to the WHO, adults should do 150 minutes of aerobic exercises every week in order to remain healthy, which translates into 21.4 minutes of sports per day.
"Adults aged 18-64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or an equivalent combination of moderate - and vigorous-intensity activity," notes the WHO.
This data shows that what the Pokémon GO incentive did cannot be considered as a huge step forward in increasing people's physical activity. Based on the WHO's recommendations it barely counts, as it only represents half of what we're supposed to integrate in our everyday routines.
Even so, the researchers did note that some people "might sustain increased physical activity" by playing Pokémon GO.
"Other potential benefits might exist, such as increased social connectedness and improved mood," they added.