AUG 03, 2016 12:28 PM PDT

Can You Lose Weight Playing Pokemon Go?

WRITTEN BY: Julianne Chiaet

The idea of a hardcore gamer often conjures up an image of a person sitting on a couch or computer chair intensely drawn into the screen; rapidly smashing buttons and shouting statements like “Kill the dragon!” Because of this image, competitive gamers are often perceived as lazy. I personally don’t think that’s the case. In fact, it takes a lot of focus and determination to be the best at anything, including a game. 

When Pokemon Go came out a month ago, I wasn’t surprised to see all those gamers running around on the streets. This is because, unlike most other games, Pokemon Go is an augmented reality location-based game. Thus, in order to catch Pokémon, you need to physically go to where they’ve spawned. For instance, if you want to catch water-type Pokémon, you should head to a body of water (e.g. a river). If you want more items and Pokemon, you need to go to geo-tagged locations called Pokestops. And, if you want to take over a Pokemon gym, you have to fight on location. 

Because of all this walking, people have been asking whether you can use Pokemon Go to lose weight. The answer: yes, but you need to be strategic about it. 


“From a fitness standpoint, the reason I like Pokemon Go is because it gives me a very fun reward system for the amount of time and distance I put into both my runs and walking while playing that game,” said Chrono to LabRoots. Chrono (not his real name) is a hardcore gamer who usually spends his gaming hours keeping up his Diamond rank in League of Legends (that’s a huge time commitment). 

"There are a lot of incentives in the game that make me want to explore and move,” he continues. "Particularly since the eggs in the game, which can give you very rare pokemon, can only be opened by walking distances - not driving. [The distance required to open] the eggs range from 2 km to 10 km, so if you’re running a couple miles a day, you’ll be hatching eggs at a very quick rate.” Plus, opening eggs gives you XP (experience points), which you need to level up and become stronger. "So not only are you achieving success in the game, but you’re also achieving goals that you want for your own self physically.” 


Let’s put this into perspective.

First of all, for those confused by the metric system:

  • 2 km = 1.24 miles
  • 5 km = 3.11 miles
  • 10 km = 6.21 miles

According to Forbes, the average Pokemon Go player is a 25-year old white female college graduate who makes $90,000 a year. The average weight of an American non-hispanic white woman between the ages of 20 and 39 is 164.4 pounds, according to data collected by the Center for Disease Control between 2007 and 2010. The average 25-year-old most likely weighs less than the average 39-year-old. Walking speed varies, but the human preferred walking speed is 3.1 miles per hour. Women likely prefer to walk at a slower pace than men (due to height).

While I can’t make an accurate estimate on the average weight and walking speed of the average Pokemon Go player, perhaps those stats can lend some insight. For instance, it would be realistic to assume there are Pokemon Go players who weigh 150 pounds and walk at an average speed of 3 miles per hour. If a person wants to open a 5 km egg while walking at 3 mph, that would take 62 minutes. A 150-pound person walking at 3 mph would burn approximately 414.7 kcal over the course of 62 minutes. Plus, they might hatch a rare Pokemon. 

Pokemon Go players have taken to social media to share their weight loss stories. 

Like this one by Kayleigh Zara:


And this one:



Chrono himself has lost 15 pounds since playing Pokemon Go.

Thousands have also spoken out on how Pokemon Go has alleviated their anxiety and improved their mental health. Many with depression and anxiety find it difficult to leave their houses and to speak with people. The game has pushed them to take a major step forward by forcing them to explore new places and interact with people.

As I finish writing this article, I compare my Pokemon lineup to Chrono's and realize I need to up my game.

In fact, if there's any hope for me to catch up, I need to start running.

Sources: source: VerywellVital and Health Statistic from the Center for Disease Control“More Women Than Men Are Playing Pokemon Go” via"‘Pokemon Go’ Demographics: More Women Play Game Than Men” via Heavy.comGamezebo 


About the Author
  • Julianne (@JuliChiaet) covers health and medicine for LabRoots. Her work has been published in The Daily Beast, Scientific American, and MailOnline. While primarily a science journalist, she has also covered culture and Japanese organized crime. She is the New York Board Representative for the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA). • To read more of her writing, or to send her a message, go to
You May Also Like
JAN 21, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
JAN 21, 2020
Brain scans of teens predict their risk of binge drinking
We’ve seen teenage binge drinking widely represented in popular culture. There is, however, a dark side to what many consider harmless fun. Mounting...
JAN 20, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
JAN 20, 2020
Epigenetic Changes Make Breast Cancer Cells Drug Resistant
Researchers have found that changes in the structure of the genome in breast cancer cells can make them resistant to drug therapies....
JAN 28, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
JAN 28, 2020
Developing a Gene Therapy to Treat Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
Because of a genetic mutation, people that have Duchenne muscular dystrophy lack functional copies of a protein called dystrophin....
JAN 29, 2020
JAN 29, 2020
Eating Eggs Everyday Not Linked to Heart Disease
The common controversy over whether eating eggs is bad for heart health may finally have been dissolved thanks to new findings by scientists at McMaster Un...
FEB 10, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
FEB 10, 2020
Lighting a Path to an Alzheimer's Disease Treatment
Alzheimer's impacts millions of people around the world; globally, it is thought to cost $605 billion a year, and there is still no way to treat it....
FEB 23, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
FEB 23, 2020
Revealing More About the Genetic Mechanisms Underlying Down Syndrome
Down syndrome impacts around 6,000 live births in the US every year. Around 95% of affected individuals have a type called trisomy 21....
Loading Comments...