Forget fitness trackers and fitness apps.
Researchers say the augmented reality game Pokemon Go could have added 2.83 million years of life expectancy by simply getting people off the couch to hunt for virtual monsters.
The study was done by Microsoft Research and found that Pokemon Go players, on average, increased the number of steps they took by 26 percent, with the most sedentary benefiting the most. Looked at another way, that’s 194 more steps per day taken, or roughly 160 meters.
When totaled, researchers said cumulatively, the roughly 25 million Pokemon Go-playing Americans took 144 billion more steps or the equivalent of 143 round trips to the moon.
Activity increases were seen among genders, ages, weight and general levels of health.
The researchers say that since activity lowers mortality, all the extra activity from Pokemon Go could mean 2.83 million more years of life expectancy. Players who take 1,000 steps per day could lengthen their lives by 41.4 days.
The one downside of the study is that interest in the game appeared to have peaked in the summer. Less interest and colder weather could reduce the number of players sharply.
The study was posted in the Cornell University Library.