How Pokemon Go & Fitness Intertwine

Do I play Pokemon Go? You bet your a$$ I do. I am 31 years old and I am not ashamed to admit it. I grew up playing Pokemon, so for me it’s more of a nostalgia thing over anything else. But lets keep it in perspective – I am by no means going out of my way to play it. You won’t catch me stampeding over people to catch an elusive Pokemon in Central Park. I have a dog, so I’ve made my walks with him just a little bit longer in the hopes of catching a Pikachu or a Squirtle (which I just did and I was pumped).

For most that have been following me over the past couple of years, it is pretty evident that fitness is my passion. So it should come as no surprise that I am about to spin Pokemon Go in a fitness related direction. Buckle up!

The excuse that I hate the most when it comes to not achieving your fitness goals is – I don’t have time. Hate it and I will never tolerate it. What I would rather you say is that my health is not a priority for me right now so I choose not to commit time to it. Cool, at least we’re being honest and we can move on…

The following is from Gary Vaynerchuk’s blog post regarding Pokemon Go;

“It’s impressive how successful Pokémon GO has been even though it’s only been out for less than a week. Its daily average usage is over 43 minutes—higher than Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat, and Messenger.”

43 Minutes?!?! I try and stay pretty active on Social Media and that borders on my total time for all apps in a day. 43 minutes is also more than enough time for me to get an effective workout in at the gym or anywhere for that matter.

What Nintendo has done, inadvertently I assume, is made millions of people get off their couch and move. 43 minutes worth of moving! When you think about what the alternative for many of those individuals would have been (aka sitting on a couch), that’s amazing. One of the key features of the game is acquiring Pokemon eggs that will hatch after you walk a certain distance. Amazing!

At the Core of losing weight or maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the simple equation of Calories In vs Calories Out. But Calories Out doesn’t only mean your work in the gym. It also means Calories expended walking up & down stairs, bobbing your head to music, writing on a piece of paper.

All of these things fall into the category of NEAT – Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. Simply by moving (non-gym related) you’re increasing your daily NEAT/calorie expenditure. There are tons of studies being conducted that simply put state sitting/being sedentary is the new smoking. When doing an initial assessment with a client, NEAT is one of the first things I look at when tailoring a plan. No need to spends hours on a cardio machine when I can just get you moving a little bit more throughout the day. On average, we can burn anywhere from 80 – 100 calories per mile walking at our normal pace. For a month’s effort of walking 1 mile extra per day or roughly 10 minutes, that’s close to 3,000 calories burned extra. Almost a pound! (3,500 calories in a pound FYI).

In a world filled with Netflix & Chill, 24 hour fast food and Social Media (which has made us actually less social), is it really all that terrible that people are out and about trying to become the next Poke-Master?! Pokemon Go has not only gotten people off their a$$es and into the real world, but it has also created connection. Which is a massive part of fitness. fitness is always made easier when you have like minded people cheering you on, supporting you.

So lets not focus on the fact that Pokemon Go may be a silly game (to each their own). But lets focus instead on the major win that people are out moving and creating a positive change in their life (whether they mean to or not).

Oh snap – I think I just saw a Pikachu!! Gotta catch them all!


3 thoughts

  1. It’s nice to see people going out and about. 🙂
    Although I’m far past the age of understanding what Pokeman is (had to have an Intern explain it to me last week…lol), this is similar to Geocaching (which I’ve done not only in this country but others) yet without the fun of finding an actual object you can put your hands on.
    Different strokes for different folks. Keep moving and burn those calories!

    1. That’s definitely it. Your game’s avatar is positioned according to your geolocation using your phone’s GPS. It’s created an AR world – Augmented Reality – where the Pokemon look like they’re in the real world. Moral of the story, people are moving that might have otherwise just been on the couch. So it’s a win for sure! 🙂

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