If Hunting For Pokémon Is Your Physical Activity, You Better Be Doing A Lot Of Hunting

Due to reports of people getting sore after playing the smash hit game, doctors would like to discuss your levels of exercise.

If Hunting For Pokémon Is Your Physical Activity, You Better Be Doing A Lot Of Hunting

News flash, there is an obesity crisis in America. Could Pokémon Go be the answer?


The hot take answer: yes! People are walking–nay, running and even biking–in search of Pokémons, Poké Balls, and gyms in the real, outdoor world. People are getting sore. People are visiting places in their cities they would never normally set foot in (sometimes with good reason). Best of all, some of these people are kids and teens–the age group health professionals often worry most about getting enough exercise, stuck to technology as they are.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. You can easily catch them in an Uber, too. And a health expert might be a little more cautious with prescribing Pokémon instead of the gym.

“If someone is just sitting there and watching TV and surfing the web–this is definitely better. It’s better to exercise than not exercise,” says Bruce Y. Lee, executive director of the Johns Hopkins Global Obesity Prevention Center and an associate professor at the school. “It’s not necessarily a replacement for other types of physical activity. It may not have the same benefits [for teens] of playing sports.”

They say it’s great to get out there chasing after Pokémon, but he says it’s important especially to get varied kinds of physical activity. That could be done with Pokémon Go–some people are even getting in kayaks to find them–but it would take a deliberate effort.

Say you do want to multitask exercising with gaming. Here’s how long you’d have to do it, according to the CDC’s guidelines for physical activity.

Age 6-17: 60 minutes of physical activity everyday, seven days a week–mostly aerobic exercise, but try to get some muscle and bone strengthening activities in there several days a week (maybe some Pokemons are hiding under heavy objects?)


Adults: 30 minutes of at least moderate activity, five days a week–take your phone for a brisk walk, for example, and try to get some crunches and other muscle strengthening in too (“working all major muscle groups”).

Older adults: If you are over the age of 65 and playing Pokemon Go, congratulations on being so with the moment. Get out there about the same amount as young adults, but you can modify if you have limiting physical conditions.

Of course, all of this could be a fad and go the same way as the Nintendo Wii. Remember people were getting sore from that too?

About the author

Jessica Leber is a staff editor and writer for Fast Company's Co.Exist. Previously, she was a business reporter for MIT’s Technology Review and an environmental reporter at ClimateWire.