Get up and Pokémon Go™!

Get up and Pokémon Go™!

Tepi Mclaughlin is a Student Intern at the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Science, Loughborough University. 

As Pokémon Go™ captures the nation, public health experts are asking what the impact of this is on people's physical activity levels. Pokémon Go™ enthusiast Tepi Mclaughlin has blogged about the latest trend.

Boosting physical activity across the UK

A free-to-play app storming across Britain. The aptly named “Pokémon Go™” combines the digital world with the world around us, and it’s making people move more. One possible reason the app is so popular is users don’t acknowledge the game as physical activity. If this is you, then ignore this article and keep playing!

The success of the app has been phenomenal. Users can be seen walking around the real world, motivated by the desire to achieve goals within the game. Quantifying the impact upon physical activity is challenging, but early estimates suggest an exciting 43-minute boost in walking per day. Too much sitting and not enough physical activity leads to a worsened health profile – can Pokémon Go™ lead to the public health goal to #SitLess #MoveMore?

Early Stats

Following the July 14th 2016 UK release of Pokémon Go™ it has been widely quoted in the press as:


  • having more active users than Twitter (and possibly Google Maps and Snapchat too!).
  • exceeding 5 million UK downloads.
  • the most downloaded game ever in its first week on the App Store.

Research is being conducted by Sheffield Hallam University investigating the apps impact on physical activity, which should provide more detail on the potential boost in physical activity. 

Not a fan of exercise? Tips to boost physical activity with Pokémon Go™: 


  • Move more to catch more Pokémon (this works).
  • Challenge a friend to reach a certain level or walk a number of kilometers.
  • Change your commute habits to incorporate time to play active Pokémon Go™.
  • Take the "long cut", not the "short cut" - visit more pokéstops and hatch more eggs!

What we should avoid!


  • Unhealthy sponsors and adverts that ruin the health impact.
  • Playing alone at night, or in vulnerable places.
  • Driving and playing, instead of being active and playing.



The Future

The longevity and impact of Pokémon Go™ is yet unclear. However, if data shows physical activity increases on a population scale, it highlights the need to promote physical activity as fun, accessible and enjoyable rather than a prescription. As public health advocates we should be saying “It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it”. This will ensure we sustain motivation for physical activity throughout life!

Tweet me, @HealthTepi to talk all things health.



Get involved in research


Researchers from Sheffield Hallam University are conducting research to investigate if Pokémon Go™ has had an effect on physical activity levels.


Click here to take part in the research