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The research is in: Pokemon Go is helping people reach their fitness goals

Pokemon Go momentarily took the world by storm when it was released on iOS and Android last July.

It dominated news headlines, mostly for negative reasons as people took to the streets in droves to find and battle virtual Pokemon that had been scattered throughout the real world.

Rarely did the news discuss the positive outlets the game was capable of, namely its ability to get people out and active in search of rare and power virtual beasts.

Pokemon fanatics were certain of the game’s health benefits, and now they actually have the research to back up their claim: Pokemon Go is definitely helping people be more active.

New research has found that people that play Pokemon Go are twice as likely to reach a 10,000-steps per day goal.

That’s via a study conducted by Duke University graduate student, Hanzhang Xu, who told a recent American Hear Association meeting (via TIME) that the game has the potential to promote an active lifestyle.

“Pokémon Go is probably one of the most popular mobile games in history,” Xu said. “Unlike traditional mobile games, it requires the players to be active and travel around in the real world. It has great potential to promote physical activity.”

Xu studied 167 iPhone Pokemon Go players by asking them to send him screenshots of their daily steps across 50 days.

The people in the study walked roughly 5,600 more steps per day before they played Pokemon Go.

Once they started using the app, however, the number of steps increased to 7,600.

“[The smartphone] has the potential to work as social media and break the ice of isolation,” Xu said. “Games like Pokémon Go may provide an alternative way to encourage exercise.”

Back in December, developer of the record-breaking mobile game, Niantic, revealed a number of startling facts about the game and how people have interacted with it.

Pokemon Go players up to that point had walked a staggering 8.7 billion kilometres.

That’s equivalent to 200,000 (!) trips around Earth. It would take a commercial airline 1,000 years to make that journey.

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