If you’ve been keeping up with the news these past few weeks, you’ve undoubtedly seen all the hype that’s been going on around Pokemon GO, the new augmented reality video game for cell phones. Among the interesting things that people have been asking, if if you can actually lose weight playing Pokemon GO. After all, Pokemon GO requires you to move around, and not just move around Wii style… we’re talking geniune walking, walking and more walking here.
So, can you really expect to lose weight playing Pokemon GO? Well, yeah, you could. The game’s got everything set up to enable you to lose weight playing Pokemon GO, you just need to take care of a few more basic things, and start losing!
How to lose weight playing Pokemon GO
Losing weight is a big deal for your body, remember that always. Your body has been built over millions of years to store energy in the form of fat. And it’s been programmed from birth to take all the food it gets, repair and renew itself, and then keep whatever’s left over for a rainy day. There’s no “dump the rest” policy here! Your body thinks those extra calories might come in handy some day, and it’ll hold on to them for as long as it can.
That’s the first thing you need to remember if you want to lose weight playing Pokemon GO. There’s no magic bullet here! Losing weight playing Pokemon GO is going to be like most other exercise programs.
Except that if you actually like Pokemon, it’s going to be a lot more fun. I guess that’s the real point that helps you out: Pokemon GO is loads of fun, and the more you play it, it gets even more fun. And if you play it with a group of friends, even better. The same doesn’t always hold true for going to the gym or just going out for a run. While you can quit going to the gym real easy (just lie down and binge watch Netflix), Pokemon gets you hooked, and going out to hunt the latest specimens is always going to call you outdoors and away from sedentary activities.
So, what’s the best way to lose weight by playing Pokemon GO? Here’s some pointers:
- Always check with your doctor before starting out. Most doctors will be very happy that you’re leaving the couch potato lifestyle, and will gladly help you to fine tune your Pokemon workouts. You doctor can also clue you in on things to avoid doing while playing, that might set you up for injury. So either pay your doctor a visit, or give them a call to ask for their advice, especially if you haven’t been exercising frequently.
- Learn the rules and basic gameplay. Take a few brief walks, and learn how the game works. Learn how to track Pokemon, how to capture them, and what the different items are for. There’s lots of great info on this on the Internet. Pokemon can be confusing at the very start, but in a few hours of gameplay, you’ll have it down.
- Choose a good place to play. The place you choose should have plenty of space available, remember the name of the game in Pokemon GO is distance. The more distance you cover, the more Pokemon you can capture. Don’t think you’re going to get very far by playing in your back yard, or in the few blocks between your house and the gym. Give yourself room! Choose a large park, a good 10 city blocks, or your local university campus. Or map out your own route through your favorite parts of the city. Historical sites, museums, and sightseeing points are wonderful choices for going on a Pokemon hunt.
- Don’t be afraid of covering a lot of ground! Like I said before, Pokemon GO is about distance! Don’t think it’s unusual or wrong to leave your house and find yourself on the other side of the city an hour later. A lot of people think “I’m going really far, I’d better turn back”. Don’t, you’re on the right track! Keep walking, keep going… and at the end if you do go really really far, just find your nearest bus stop and make the trip back. Nothing wrong with that.
- Stay safe! Remember your cell phone doesn’t know which neighborhoods are seedy, which roads have a lot of cars on them, or where the nearest army shooting range starts. So use your good judgement to keep yourself safe while playing.
- Get others involved. It’s a blast to play Pokemon GO with friends. If you have friends that you take walks with or exercise with, get them to play too. And pay attention when you go past a pokestop, especially if it’s got a beacon on it. You’ll often find other players that are exercising too, and that will be happy to have you join them, or join you on your hunt!
- Start off easy and work your way up. If you’ve never exercised before, don’t think you’re going to be running marathon distances in 3 days. Don’t be concerned if you start out walking. Walk! Go for it! Then when you feel up to it, jog a little and walk a little. And if you keep it up, you’ll be jogging and running in no time. Also, don’t think running is a requirement for playing Pokemon GO. Just walking is a great exercise, and you’re going to catch many Pokemon too!
- Try intervals. Interval training is a great fat burner, and it can work great with Pokemon GO. Time your intervals so when you stop to catch that elusive Pokemon, you’re on your low intensity stretch. Then on your higher intensity parts, cover more ground looking for the next Pokemon to catch. For pokestops, try some elastic bands or some bodyweight training exercises.
- Use earphones. This is probably one of the most important parts of playing Pokemon while exercising. You’ve gotta wear a comfortable pair of earphones or earbuds. It’s the only way you can hear the game noises, and play without having your cell phone in your hand the whole time. Get a good armband or waistband holder for your phone, a nice pair of earphones, and get going! Or if you find you’re becoming that much of a fan, you could also try the Pokemon Go Plus control: a little indicator you wear around your wrist that lets you know when something’s happening in the game by lighting up and vibrating.
- Watch your diet! If you want to lose weight playing Pokemon GO, one of the most important things you’ve gotta do is watch your diet! You can walk for quite a bit playing the game, but if you stop by your neighborhood Starbucks on the way back for one of those extra large sugar bomb frozen lattes and a piece of cake, you’re not gonna see those pounds drop off. You’re going to get extra hungry after a few days of playing, that’s a normal effect of exercising, so be sure to have plenty of low impact snacks around that you can consume. Veggie sticks (carrot, broccoli, zucchini), whole grain oatmeal, and natural nonsweetened yogurt are great picks.
- Stay hydrated. Remember as you’re rolling in the pokemon and rolling out those pounds, to drink plenty of fluids. Water is the best, believe me, there’s no need for those electrolyte replacing sports drinks unless you’re doing high endurance or high intensity training, and in that case you probably won’t need me to tell you to hydrate, right? But for the rest, drink plenty of tap water: stay away from bottled water, and absolutely stay away from energy drinks, soft drinks, and packaged fruit juices that are ultra high in sugar!
So there you go. Head on over to the app store, pick up your copy of Pokemon GO, and start burning off those calories! And let me know how it goes for you in the comments…