Can Pokemon Go Bring Health Benefits?


After what seemed like ages, Pokemon Go has finally arrived in Malaysia and Singapore! The scene of people holding phone walking around parks, shopping malls catching Pokemon will now be a norm.

Play Pokemon Go

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How is Pokemon Go played?

In order to catch as many Pokemon as possible, ‘trainers’ (players) are required to walk around the streets, according to the hints stated on the map, to find resources. In order to ‘hatch the egg’ the trainers need to walk approximately 2 to 10 km; sometimes the game will require the trainer to battle out with other trainer. In a nutshell, this game requires a lot of walking to do, and one can’t stay at home or indoors to complete their mission. In Canada, one trainer walked 10,000 steps, as compared to normal 6,000 steps that he usually walks.

How can it help people?

Autism patients, who are playing Pokemon Go, reported to have felt better. In America, Autism Speaks Psychologists encourage parents who have autism kids to make good use of Pokemon Go, encourage the autism kids to leave the house, using the map function, to know the community, and even increase their interaction with others.

For patients who are suffering from depression, when they are very down, they will tend to stay indoors and even remain inside their own room or house, they are not willing to go out, to meet others. In order to treat their depression, experts usually will recommend them to go out on the street, communicate and meet up with others, and in normal case, it’s hard to make the patients listen to this kind of advice.  However, with Pokemon Go, the patient will now have the reason to walk out. There are even some studies that running or walking can boost your mood, make you feel better.

What can be the side-effects of playing this game?

The same scenario may not exist if the depressants are not interested in the game; seeing others play, they might feel the need of being ‘different’ or non-conform.

In case of autism kids, they might tend to show addiction behavior. Once there is addiction, it will make communication or interaction with others even harder. Although virtual games like Pokemon Go can be used as first step in opening communication with others, parents might need to watch out if the autism kids will get addicted.

For normal peeps like you and me, especially those who have a sedentary lifestyle, this game surely encourages us to leave the house and walk more. Walking has been proven to be able to boost your mood. What’s even better, it can boost the euphoria when you manage to catch Pokemon, and hence release stress. ;)

As compared with traditional games, it does not matter who plays it – whether you suffer from mental disease or you are just a normal person. Overall it’s a good game to play as it requires extensive amount of walking or running. However, we would like to urge every trainer out there to play it within your safety limit, be cautious about your surroundings, and don’t get addicted!

by Qian

Qian's interest in healthcare industry came about after her father was diagnosed with bladder cancer. This experience has led her to become a strong believer in empowering individuals to take charge of their own health. View all articles by Qian.


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