How many calories can you burn while playing Pokemon Go?

Gotta catch 'em all - Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm, and many people have become spellbound by the adorable critters popping up on the screens of their mobile phones.

Since the game's launch in Singapore on Aug 6, nearly everyone - young and old - have stepped out of their homes to scour every corner of the island in search for Pokemon.

With the demands of modern-day living, many of us are guilty of being too sedentary, and our obsession with mobile phones is not helping us to become more physically active.

But with the growing popularity of Pokemon Go, more people are actually getting off the couch to venture into the great outdoors, and having fun at the same time - what could be better?

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Health benefits of Pokemon Go

Whether you're a novice or seasoned player, one thing's for sure - Pokemon Go encourages a whole lot of walking.

And we know walking is a healthy activity which helps burn calories, keeps the heart fit, and lowers blood pressure. It also helps to relieve stress and anxiety as the brain releases 'feel-good' chemicals called endorphins.

The game encourages players to hunt for 'Pokemons' (an abbreviation from Pocket Monsters) and collect items by walking to various locations marked as PokeStops and Pokemon gyms on a real life map displayed on their mobile phones.

Players can also spawn new Pokemons, hatching eggs on the go by walking distances of 2km, 5km, and 10km.

Of course, longer distances travelled will yield rarer and more powerful Pokemons.

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Pokemon hunting to lose weight?

After so much walking and working up a good sweat, have you ever wondered if you've worked off that yummy kaya toast you had for breakfast?

To get an idea of how many calories playing Pokemon Go would burn, I embarked on a Pokemon hunt.

During my walk home from work one evening, I collected items at 10 PokeStops and caught 7 Pokemons.

According to my smart watch, the 1.5km journey took 30 mins and burned a grand total of 84 calories - equivalent to a small banana.

So, it seems that you can lose some weight while enjoying Pokemon Go.

Many players have shared on social media that they haven't had so much exercise before playing the game. Some of them said that they have walked for hundreds of kilometres while others have dropped a few kilos.

If you're looking to slim down by Pokemon hunting, consider formulating a plan to maximise the amount of calories burned.

You should aim to burn about 2000kcal every week, the Health Promotion Board recommends. The target number of calories to burn also depends on your gender, age, and weight.

Losing between 0.5kg to 1kg every week over six months would be a realistic goal.

Can't wait for Pokemon eggs to hatch? Brisk walking or jogging in straight lines may help speed things up, cover more ground, and also burn more calories than regular walking. 

Just keep in mind that the game's location tracking function is a little wonky sometimes, so things may not always work if you're going too fast.

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Also, avoid stopping at Pokemon gyms, as battling with other players' Pokemons may cause you to lose the momentum of your brisk walk.

As long as you spend about two hours walking while playing the game every day, you should see some results on the weighing scale soon.

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Don't forget to watch out for the calories in your food too. Weight loss only happens when the amount of calories burned is greater than the calories consumed.

Pokemon Go is a great way to start moving our lazy bones, but I'd still prefer to forget about counting calories and just enjoy the fresh air. 

minlee@sph.com.sg