Pokemon Go leading to more exercise for the young and old

From families to college kids, like our FOX 2 intern Jessyca Faison, people of all ages seem to be getting more exercise thanks to the game.

You may have heard of a little game called Pokemon Go by now. The new gaming app has taken the world by storm, and has taken one of our FOX 2 coworkers on a walking adventure.

"Well I downloaded Pokemon Go for my kids, but I think I'm the one getting the most benefit from it," says Katie Fehr Lindsey.

A busy working mom, she tries to make time for a daily walk with her kids.

"As a family, we try to go for a walk every night, but the reality is, when you have three kids and one of them is pretty little, about ten minutes into it he's tired; his legs are tired; but what was maybe a 10-minute walk has now become this hour-long adventure as we walk around the neighborhood looking for little creatures," she says.

From families to college kids, like our FOX 2 intern Jessyka Faison, people of all ages seem to be getting more exercise thanks to the game.

"My college roommate actually when I started running, she was always, 'I don't want to do any physical activity,' when I tried to get her to go out with me. And now, since the Pokemon game came out, she was like, 'Guess what I did today? I caught two new Pokemon,'" Jessyka says. "So I'm like, 'Let's go; we are going outside now,' and she came with me. We spent like an hour and a half chasing Pokemon outside. It was awesome."

It seems a lot of people think it's awesome.

Pokemon Go is an augmented reality mobile game that requires walking to progress in the game. So much walking, that fitness tracker Jawbone saw a spike in activity on the weekend the game was released. Those wearing trackers who said they were playing the game had 63 percent more steps than normal!

Doctors say that's a step in the right direction.

"If somebody is sitting on a couch, and now they are getting off the couch, that's a start. And if that's what motivates someone to start exercising, I think's that's wonderful," says Dr. Robert Zaid, a family doctor at Providence Hospital.

He says the walking, the sunlight and the social aspect can all provide benefits.
It's not a marathon, but it still counts!

"If you look at the kind of activity you would receive from a game like this, it would be considered moderate activity. You've got light activity, moderate, and vigorous activity. It's definitely not vigorous, unless you can't talk while you're looking for Pokemon," Dr. Zaid says.

So it's not vigorous, but before you poke fun of Pokemon hunters, those who play say it's all in fun with a little fitness, too.

"I mean, this isn't a hardcore workout, but if I'm getting an hour long walk instead of a 10 minute walk, and I'm outside getting fresh air with my kids, I mean it's a win, win," Lindsey says. "And if we catch creatures, too, that's good!

Dr. Zaid reminds those trying to "catch 'em all" to stay safe, be aware of your surroundings and, of course, don't play while driving.  

And remember - some parts of the game require a lot of walking - like hatching an egg, which requires two to 10 kilometers. That's up to six miles. 

Treat Pokemon Go like any other physical activity. Bring water and rest if you need to.

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