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Pokémon Go Is Having A Positive Impact On People's Mental Health, And Here's The Science To Back It Up

Another reason to indulge your inner child.

12/07/2016 10:35 BST

Pokémon Go is already having a impact on player’s mental health, despite only being released a week ago.

The app, which combines augmented reality with geo-caching, gamifies exercise and encourages gamers to get out into the real world and explore their surroundings.

Pokemon

Although there has been no research into the specific effects of Pokémon Go (they have only had a week after all), the anecdotal evidence is growing.

Players have been tweeting about how the game has helped them overcome agoraphobia and other mental health obstacles. 

Despite there being no official science to support the claim that Pokémon Go is directly responsible for these changes, previous research does support the theory that walking and getting outside is good for both mental and physical health.

In 2006 the International Journal of Environmental Health published a paper titled “The mental and physical health outcomes of green exercise.”

Professor Jules Pretty, Jo Peacock, Martin Sellens and Murray Griffin, who worked on the study, said: “Both physical activity and exposure to nature are known separately to have positive effects on physical and mental health.”

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In experiments the team compared the differing impacts of exercising on a treadmill whilst looking at pictures of rural scenes, compared to exercising without exposure to any images of the outside world.

aloha_17 via Getty Images

Unsurprisingly the research showed that exercise alone reduced blood pressure, increased self-esteem and had a “positive significant effect” on 4 in 6 people.

However, it also conclusively showed that exercising with visual prompts of green spaces had even more “important” health consequences than without.

Indicating that Pokémon Go players could be benefiting from the combined results of exercise and exposure to the outdoors.

Keep gaming. 

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