How to keep your exercise sessions inspiring

By Bill Nielsen


As someone who likes to exercise but finds the repetition a bit boring, I’m always on the lookout for new apps, shows or games to engage me during my workout. While I would always recommend proper attention to the world around you, it’s nice to have something to silence that little voice asking, “Why am I doing this?” A small distraction is especially important to me right now due to a fractured clavicle, which limits my workouts to walking. Every little bit helps in maintaining my fitness while I’m still healing, and walking is a great form of exercise.

Luckily, the Pokemon Go app is fantastic for adding variety and a little fun to your outings. While the initial hype of summer 2016 has died down there have been continual updates, including the addition of new monsters. With that in mind, I recently reinstalled the app to learn if it would keep me entertained. To help evaluate my workout, I tracked my steps using my Fitbit Charge HR, though any fitness tracker (with the Vitality program) will work well. For comparison’s sake, I completed two separate trips: one during lunch through downtown Chicago, and another in the evening on a trail route.

As a tip, I recommend turning off the AR (augmented reality) settings, which require you to track the Pokemon in space around you using your phone’s camera. While this is a very cool feature, it’s not good for maintaining your pace, whereas the alternative automatically puts the creature in the middle of your screen.

Pictured: Augmented Reality off vs. Augmented Reality on
Here are my stats:

Downtown (city blocks)

  • Steps taken: 4,160
  • Pokemon captured: 36
  • New Pokemon discovered: 12

Lakeside (walking trail)

  • Steps taken: 6,922
  • Pokemon captured: 70
  • New Pokemon discovered: 4

I was pleased to discover the app seems to reward more walking with more encounters, even if you’re not near buildings or other people. Based upon my past experiences with the app, this is a significant improvement on the number and variety of Pokemon you can find, which livens up the experience as well. And as a free-to-play game – I have made no purchases having used the app more than 10 hours total – I recommend it as a great way of getting more.

One other note: If you don’t own a Fitbit or other wearable device that tracks steps, the Apple Health, MapMyFitness, and Fitbit (iOS only) apps will also work. Also, in addition to regular walks, you can use it on hikes … and don’t forget to make it a family activity. A little exercise and friendly competition is a great way to end an evening now that temperatures are rising.

Bill Nielsen, Communications Specialist, enjoys distance running, Chipotle burrito bowls, and video games, and strives to combine all three into one activity.


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