Is Pokémon Go The Latest Fitness Craze?

Pokémon Go has officially taken over.

For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past few days, the wildly popular app launched on July 6 in the U.S. and on July 18 in Canada. To progress in the game, players must walk around to find and catch Pokémon and to discover “Pokestops.” The farther you walk, the more chances you have to succeed.

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Unsurprisingly, several fitness apps have noticed a rise in steps taken during the short period that the app has been available.

Cardiogram, an Apple Watch app that measures heart rate, found that its 35,000 users’ overall exercise increased steadily over the weekend after Pokémon Go launched. Although the increase cannot be directly attributed to the game, Cardiogram’s founders suspect that the addictive app is to blame.

“The fact that it’s a population-level effect that’s visible is actually pretty impressive on Pokémon Go’s part,” said Cardiogram co-founder Brandon Ballinger. His business partner, Johnson Hsieh, added, “I walk to work and home every day and I definitely spend more time taking detours.”

UP fitness tracker Jawbone found a similar trend. It examined users’  comments and found that those had mentioned the Pokémon Go app were walking 62.5 per cent more than usual.

But for those hoping to shed the pounds by virtue of p Pokémon alone, don’t throw out your gym membership just yet. Although experts agree that walking is great for your overall health, it’s not exactly the most rigorous exercise — the average person will burn just 70 calories per kilometre walked. (It takes 3,500 calories to shed a pound.)

There’s even an online calculator that determines how far you’d have to go in the game to lose weight, in case you’re curious.

Still, there are plenty of other health benefits to getting outside and walking besides weight loss, including mental health benefits, so what are you waiting for? Get out there and catch them all!