Pokemon Go is a fast-growing fitness app that wasn’t intended to be one. Crippling servers, blowing up social media and getting kids and Millennials moving, Pokémon Go has been an instant hit since it launched last summer. Pokémon Go, which uses augmented reality to allow users to capture monsters in real life, has an estimated 7.5 million downloads during its first week.
Pokémon Go uses the player’s phone camera and GPS, so players must move around in order to advance. One player even logged 24 miles over the course of a couple of days walking around San Francisco.
As soon as the game is on, players are directed to head out to prominent local landmarks, called “Pokestops,” where they can gather supplies such as “Pokeballs,” used to hurl at the online pocket monsters that appear on the screen. Just hatching the eggs requires a commitment of one to three miles for incubation to complete. Driving is out of the question, as users must stay below the 10 or 15-mile-per-hour speed limit.
Health professionals see a number of possible health perks, from the walking, fresh air and sunshine, and the health benefits of human interaction. While it’s too new to have much data, anecdotal evidence shows that Pokémon Go could be a boon to an individual’s exercise and well-being.