InlinewiththereleaseofNintendo’s“PokemonGO,”itisrevealedthatthegamingapphaspromotedphysical,mental,andsocialaspectsofhealth.

AsaGPS-basedgamingapp,“PokemonGO”encouragespeopletostayawayfromtheirchairsandbedsandmove.Thegameservesasareal-lifejourneytoaPokemontrainer,ashehastowalkdistancesto findPokemon,catchthem,battlethem,andlevelthemup.

InaninterviewwithCBCCalgaryNews,Dr.RajBhardwajsaidalotofthepeoplethatwereplayingwereprobablydisplacingalotofsitting.Headdedthatpeopleknewthatsittingwasreallybadforthemandthatactivityandexerciseatthegymwouldnotundotheeffectsofeightor12hoursofsittingaround.

ForTexasA&MCollegeofNursingclinicalassistantandprofessorMattHoffman,thegameservesasaregularexercisetopeople,astheyhaveto“travelacrosstheland”and“searchfarandwide,”asperthe“Pokemon”themesong.

InhisinterviewwithNDTV,Hoffmansaidthatwhathadbegunasjustplayingthegamehadnowbecomeahobbyforhimthatprovidedcertainhealthbenefits.HealsomentionedthathehadspentanhourortwoatatimeventuringaroundthecommunitytofindPokestopsandtohatchoneegg,atrainermustwalkanywherefromone-sixmiles.Headdedthattherewasnodoubtaboutit,thathewasexercisingmoreasaresultofplayingthegame,andhewasenjoyingit.

“PokemonGO”canalsoboostpeople’ssocialskills,asitbringspeopletogether,fosteringinteractionamongthem.Thisisheightenedbytheapps’allegiancesystem,whichrequiresappuserstochooseamongTeamMystic,TeamInstinct,andTeamValor.ThethreeteamsarerepresentedbyKantoregion’slegendarybirds-theicetypeArticuno,thelightningtypeZapdos,andthefiretypeMoltres.WhilesomeviewthesystemasdivisivetoPokemonplayers,somebelievethatsuchfeaturewouldboostinteractionamongpeople.

Inlinewith“PokemonGO’s”socialbenefits,HoffmansaidinthesameinterviewthattherewasasenseofcommunitywhentrainersconvergedinsearchofPokemonorwhentheygatheredtogetheratPokestops.Healsosaidthatthegamewasbringingpeopletogether,providingopportunityforsocialinteractionandraisingtheirsenseofbelonging,whichcouldhavepositiveimpactonemotionalandmentalhealth.

Intermsofmentalhealth,itsseemsthattheapphasimprovedsomeissuesoncaseslikeanxietyanddepression.InaninterviewwithFoxNews,evolutionaryclinicalpsychologistand“YourNextBigThing”authorBenMichaelissaidthatthegamecouldprovidemotivationtogooutsideandexploretheworldthroughasortofenhancedreality.

Michaelisaddedthattheappcouldalsoprovidepeopleenoughdistractionfromfearsandaninnermonologuetogetthemdosomethingthatmightbechallengingforthem.

Acaseinpointisthe18-year-oldTumblrusernamedAri.InherinterviewwithBuzzfeed,ascitedbyFoxNews,Arisaidthatshehadwalkedoutsideforhoursandhadsuddenlyfoundherselfenjoyingit.SheaddedthatshehadhadtheinstantrushofdopaminewhenevershehadcaughtaPokemonandshehadwantedtokeepgoing.

“PokemonGO”wasreleasedonJuly6andisaccessibleoniOSandAndroid, breakingapprecordsglobally.Meanwhile,fansarewaitingforNintendo’sseventhgenerationvideogame,“PokemonSun”and“PokemonMoon,”whichareslatedtobereleasedonNov.18.

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