How Pokémon Go is helping players exercise. Source: Getty
Time to stop rolling your eyes at the people in your crew playing Pokémon Go. The new app – which has been available in Canada barely a week and crashed the app’s servers the day it launched – might just be the next big exercise trend.
Here’s a quick recap in case haven’t read a headline in the past week (smh). Pokémon, the video game the neighbourhood kids would play while you “babysat” (aka read YM), is now available in app form. A GPS interface on your cell leads you IRL to virtual Pokéstops, where you can catch wild Pokémon and other Poké rewards. That means you have to walk. A lot.
So obviously this is getting the thumbs up from health and fitness experts. It’s recommended the adults should get be getting at least 150 minutes of moderate or high-intensity exercise a week. Walking is an easy way to help hit these targets; you should aim to log 10,000 steps a day.
“Walking slashes the risk of heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and much more. It also improves sleep, circulation, and supports joint heath,” says personal trainer Adrian Frai. “Research shows that getting up and walking around for two minutes every hour can increase the life span by about 33 percent compared with those who do not.”
You can even make it a family affair. Adds registered dietitian Abby Langer. “Outdoor activities are a fabulous way for families to bond and spend quality time together while getting in some healthy activity at the same time.”
If hanging with Pikachu isn’t your thing, but you love to stroll, try walking briskly for three minutes and then slow your pace, says Frai. (This is a more gentle form of the fat-burning high-intensity interval training.)
For those on the Pokémon bandwagon, keep in mind a few key safety rules, say experts: wear the right shoes, head out with a friend, wear reflective clothing and be aware of what’s around you. Happy gaming!