Pokémon GO players are having a field day and it’s not just because their childhood dream of catching Pokémon in real life is now a reality.
Some of the players have made claim that it helps their mental wellness regimen by getting them out of the house and exploring locations and catch a Pokémon. Strangely this makes a some sense. People who suffer from depression, for example tend to often isolate themselves.
A former skateboarder and carpenter Trevor Nurse was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and began playing Pokémon Go.
“It definitely brings a lot of depression with it (multiple sclerosis),” said Nurse. ‘It’s very draining to get up and go out, say, to just get outside to the car would be like doing a hundred push-ups for a normal person,” he said.
Many parents believe that video games have a negative impact on their children, however, some research suggests differently. Researchers from the Paris Descartes and Columbia Universities explored the connection between the mental health of young children and the length of time they played video games, and found that the longer a child played, the higher their chances are at having the optimum intellectual capacity and fewer relationship issues.
In adults, “brain training” with video games led to improvements in the brain connections of patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. With results showing that video games can affect certain operations in the brain, researchers are looking into adding the medium into rehabilitation plans alongside other cognitive enhancement methods. There are numerous types of video games some of which require thought, others deep thought, problem solving, motor functions and more. There is undoubtedly both physical and mental therapeutic value to MS patients who play video games.
“I got Pokemon in 1998 for my birthday,” said Nurse. “I was hooked ever since. We would actually get some acorns out in the recess yard, and paint them red and white and put a red and black dot in the middle and paint them as pokeballs,” he laughed. “And we would run around the recess yard imagining that there was Pokemon, and throwing the acorns at them to try to catch them. You don’t get a lot of girlfriends doing that,” he added.
Many have joked that Pokemon go is their new exercise routine. For Nurse, that is exactly what it is.
The game places virtual monsters in various locations around you. To win, you have to physically walk, run or drive to those locations and “catch them” by throwing a virtual “Pokeball” at the monsters.
Nurse said the game has helped him feel more motivated to go outside, and helps him forget about the pain associated with walking.
“I definitely saw a rise in his attitude and his spirits,” said Jennifer Nurse. “I’m glad for that, and he’s definitely been out doing more with our daughter Vivian.”