Guest column by Scott Swanson
ONU Associate Professor of Exercise Physiology
Pokémon Go could provide a step in the right direction in regards to health benefits for its players. “This game may be getting people of all ages to pursue physical activity they previously were not doing. If playing this game gets people who would otherwise spend their spare time laying on the couch eating potato chips to get up and move, I see its benefits,” said Ohio Northern University Associate Professor of Exercise Physiology Scott Swanson.
According to Swanson, the Pokémon Go craze may be luring several individuals into a workout regimen. “For many people, ‘exercise’ can be a word they do not like. Playing Pokémon Go, which is similar to a modern-day scavenger hunt, is a great way to start an activity regimen in a way that is enjoyable. Anything that gets people to move is beneficial. This could be a great way to reach the 85 percent of the population who do not get enough exercise in their daily routines.”
Swanson notes that walking is a great activity, and this type of exercise reduces the risk of maladies such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
According to Swanson, the real test is if this trend results in long-term lifestyle changes. “I would hope that many of the people playing this game feel better, lose weight, and see walking or other exercise as something they want to continue.”