People who play Pokemon Go may end up taking thousands of extra steps each day, lowering the risk of heart disease particularly in people who are overweight or mainly sedentary, researchers said Wednesday.
The study tracked 167 players of the game, which requires users to walk around in pursuit of animated creatures to capture with a mobile device.
On average, players added nearly 2,000 steps per day, which translates to an eight percent lower risk of heart attack or stroke in overweight people, researchers said. Before playing Pokemon Go, participants walked an average of 5,678 steps per day. After, the average count rose to 7,654.
Participants were also twice as likely to reach 10,000 daily steps after playing Pokemon Go, than they were before playing the game. Players reached a daily step goal of 10,000 nearly 28 percent of days after playing the game, compared to just 15 percent before.
Participants who had low activity levels before playing Pokemon Go appeared to benefit most from the game, walking nearly 3,000 additional steps each day.
“Considering the low level of physical activity in the United States, doing some physical activity is always better than sitting on the couch,” said researcher Hanzhang Xu, a graduate student at Duke University School of Nursing in Durham, North Carolina.
“While current physical activity guidelines recommend activity such as running or swimming to promote health and fitness, it should be noted that the best form of physical activity is the one that people will do.”