In the short time Pokémon Go has spent as reigning king of all things pop culture, it’s caused a few problems its creators probably didn’t anticipate. Distracted gamers, their eyes glued to their cell phones, are injuring themselves; states are already readying themselves for the inevitable bout of Pokémon-related collisions; a dastardly few have used the device to trap and rob players; one teenager even stumbled a corpse.
But it’s also has one unexpected and very positive side effect with players attesting to the game’s many mental health benefits.
— Pokémon (@Pokemon) July 3, 2016
The interactive mobile game, which enables users to catch Pokémon in real life, has many other surprising benefits for players. Here are some of the unexpected ways the game has impacted users’ mental health and also helped others.
1.It gives people some exercise
Walking is also a beneficial form of exercise. According to the Mayo Clinic, “[p]hysical activity doesn’t need to be complicated. Something as simple as a daily brisk walk can help you live a healthier life. The faster, farther and more frequently you walk, the greater the benefits.”
2. You get some fresh air and sunlight out of the house
It sounds clichéd, but a wide range of studies suggest that breathing outside air—as long as it’s not polluted—may improve your mood and health. One study found that simply being outdoors was “associated with greater vitality,” and a Yale study found that students’ test scores increased when they spent more time outside, and the difference appeared related to better air quality.
3. Its educational
To catch Pokémon, you use Pokéballs, which you can get when you visit Pokéstops. And Pokéstops just happen to include many landmarks and historical markers, including those hidden ones in your own neighborhood.
4. It is helping people make friends
The game has inspired users to meet up and befriend each other. “Good friends are good for your health,” the Mayo Clinic website states. “Friends can help you celebrate good times and provide support during bad times. Friends prevent loneliness and give you a chance to offer needed companionship, too.”
5. Users can help the animals by playing the game and walking around
By playing the game with your pets can be your stress-reliever. Join them while playing around and finding Pokemon, then you’re not just helping them, but you also help yourself away from stress.