Is Pokemon GO A Legitimate Fitness App?

Is Pokemon GO A Legitimate Fitness App?

When I first heard about Pokémon GO, I'll admit that I was altogether skeptical. Walking outside and seeing droves of kids meandering around with their heads down, eyes glued to their cell phones. I thought to myself, "Oh great, another smartphone game that turns kids into zombies." Boy was I wrong. Pokemon GO isn't just another smartphone game, it's something much, much bigger.

Here's the Skinny on the History of Pokémon:

According to, Pokémon has it's roots in a 1980's Japanese gaming magazine called Game Freak, which was started by Satoshi Tajiri, the writer, and Ken Sugimori, the illustrator. Soon realizing that the arcade scene was on it's way out, they began to develop games by themselves for companies like Sony, and were actually quite successful.

Riding their success, they took their Pokémon idea to Nintendo, who didn't immediately understand the concept, but relied on their previous success and gave them the benefit of the doubt. Working under the guidance of Shigeru Miyamoto, Tajiri and his mentor created Pocket Monsters: Red and Green, a game surrounding the collecting and trading of monsters. It was first released in 1996 for Nintendo's Game Boy where you could link up with other users and trade Pokémon. Your role was as a trainer traveling the world collecting Pokémon and training them in battles to fight other Pokémon. As you get deeper into the game, it get's more challenging until you get to face off against the best trainers in the land – eventually facing off against an evil-mega-corporation.  

First generation Red and Green, sold millions of copies and with the evolution of gaming technology, so did the evolution of the game, which fueled the flame for seven more generations of Pokémon; each generation introducing more and more Pokémon to collect in new ways. It was so successful that many spin-offs were created from card games to cartoons; even a Pokémon inspired Tetris game was made...remember Tetris? Another addiction, but we'll save that for another time...

Pokémon GO Outside: Fad to Fit

Within the first week of it's July 2016 launch, explained that "Pokémon GO has broken the record for the highest number of downloads during launch week on the App Store," turning it into a global fad almost overnight.

So what is Pokémon GO exactly? It’s an augmented reality game that’s free to download on your iPhone or Android.  What makes the game so unique is that it uses location data from player's mobile phones to help them pursue and capture fictional Pokémon characters around their real world environments. Each Pokémon player capture is then stored within the app on their phone.

While the game itself has received somewhat mixed reviews, mostly due to in app glitches, there is one aspect of Pokémon GO that has been celebrated by critics. Namely that it requires you to walk (or run) around.

Calling it secretly the best exercise app out there, Terri Schwartz of IGN admits

“There's really not much that can get me to walk off my set path in the morning. My routine is regimented, with no extra room for a couple minutes of wandering around my neighborhood, but I found myself immediately throwing that restraint to the wind when it was time to catch some wild pocket monsters. Therein lies the brilliance of Pokémon GO: it gets you moving longer and farther than you would have planned otherwise, all without realizing you're spending that extra time exercising.”

And Schwartz isn’t the only one who recognizes Pokémon GO’s fitness potential. Patrick Allen of Lifehacker has developed several, easy to follow workout routines that blend seamlessly within the game. These simple interval training sessions let you kill two birds with one stone – increasing your heart rate while upping your chances of catching more Pokémon!

Perhaps you prefer cycling to running as this author certainly does. Well, Allen also has a great article that will show you how to turn you bicycle into a Pokémon catching machine. What could be better than jumping on your bike and pedaling your way to Pokémon glory!?

The game’s potential and popularity cannot be overstated. One week after launching it was already rivaling Twitter in terms of volume of daily users. Speaking of twitter, Julia Belluz of has rounded up some of the best tweets from people who've just begun playing the game.

Their main message? It's a real workout.

So, while it's only been out a few weeks, it's already clear that Pokémon GO is a legitimate fitness app. One with enormous potential to motivate people to move around the world.

The only question now is...will it remain popular enough to keep people on their feet?


Before you head out to “catch em’ all,” be sure to grab one of our technologically advanced phone covers. With everything from real Bamboo to DuPont Kevlar, they’ll not only keep your precious phone and Pokémon protected, they’ll also make you the envy of your fellow Poké players! 


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