Pokemon Go helps gamers get a workout

Pokemon Go helps gamers get a workout

(RNN) - The newly popular Pokemon Go app is not only helping gamers collect gems and keep up with Pikachu, it's also helping them stay active and exercise, according to health experts.

The game launched July 6 and requires players to move around, whether it's walking around a park or climbing a hill to find virtual Pokemon characters. This activity encourages people, who spend most of their day in a classroom or office setting, to exercise.

The app connects to your device's camera to capture your real-life journey to find Pokemon characters at different landmarks.

Numerous users are walking several miles every day, and use social media to post their progress. Some say they wouldn't be as social and get out of the house if it wasn't for Pokemon Go.

Sports medicine and obesity prevention experts say anything that gets people off the couch and moving around is a good thing.

"Pokemon Go is more likely to result in a higher degree of activity than previous games that involve exercise," said Graham Thomas, assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the Miriam Hospital's Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center in Providence, RI. "This game requires users to walk around, and many previous 'exergames' could be played with very little activity."

Experts say players may be so focused on reaching game goals that they don't even realize the amount of exercise they're getting.

"The longer you're moving, the more calories you're going to burn, and the better it's going to be for your overall health," Dale Bond, an assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University in Rhode Island, said.

Although exercise is a benefit for Pokemon Go users some experts warn not to overdo it, because constantly moving and looking down at phones too much could lead to muscle soreness and neck strain.

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