The Unintended “Pokemon Go” Effect – the evolution of fitness and technology

Technology dominates. We use it to make travel plans, submit applications, track our activity, make dinner reservations, lock the house, send gifts, order groceries, remember special occasions, connect with others, and get work done. It takes place on gadgets that fit in the palm of our hands. The fitness world has taken advantage of technology but it wasn’t always that way.

Workouts and fitness routines used to happen exclusively in the gym. Gymnasiums have been around since the 18th century; circus performers used them to practice and wrestlers and boxers trained in them. Gyms were raw, sweaty hotboxes filled with homemade weights – nothing like the state-of-the-art, high-tech gyms of today. Technology was brewing but has finally taken the fitness world by storm.

Jack Lalanne, the grandfather of fitness, built the first modern-day gym in Oakland, California in the 1940s. His popular television show aired for years and had a massive following. In my own gyms, I used common, everyday objects like bowling pins, brooms sticks, cables and bands, rubber balls, heavy books, and sand-filled bags as weights. My gym looked more like a garage sometimes than anything else.

It wasn’t until the 70s that the techno-savvy “Life Cycle” arrived. It is the most popular stationary bike in history, but it took a while to reach that pinnacle. Dr. Keene Dimick created it as a way to exercise without making his own back pain worse. Around 1977, Augie Neito and his business partner bought the rights to the bike but was a hard sell; it was very expensive. The guys pressed on and decades later, the “Life Cycle” is considered the standard stationary bike in the United States.

In 2001, Apple handed the fitness world a treasure when it introduced the “iPod.” This small device allowed people to download songs and create personalized playlists then clip it to their active wear and go! That gadget was a hit. Research shows that music can elicit feelings that become powerful motivators. Music can distract athletes from “bodily awareness” and controlling one’s own music can help people find the pace and rhythm that can keep them motivated and “in the zone.” I still get chills when I hear the theme from Rocky (the first movie) and Peter Frampton brings me back to high school after the first note.

Since then, Apple has dominated the Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) world. It has gone from letting people listen to music to texting, reading email, browsing the web, shopping online, making appointments, binge-watching shows, and making travel plans. People are exercising and getting tons done simultaneously.

Another technological advancement is transforming people’s lives and their desire to stay healthy and get fit. It is in the bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) space. Recently, I went to BioTE® Medical and had my hormones optimized. The natural hormone therapy has changed my life and reintroduced me to the energy and quality of health I had in my early 20s.

Technology shows no signs of slowing down. Within the last few weeks, the latest techno-phenomenon has hit the streets. Twenty years after the original Pokemon became a household name, the Pokémon Go app arrives to celebrate its anniversary. The PDA game places virtual Pichachus, Jigglypuffs, Granbulls, Psyducks, and other Pokémon characters all over the nation. Characters “show up” and the virtual game has people running – literally – all over the nation to find rare and desired Pokémon characters and advance up the game’s levels. The characters don’t hang around for long so people make haste to find them. People are running, jumping, cycling, climbing, and speed walking to get to these imaginary treasures to appear on their PDAs.

By connecting humans with imaginary characters, Pokémon Go has injected fun back into exercise. I have forever-preach that people must find something fun, something they enjoy doing, to make exercise a part of their daily lives. Pokémon Go has breathed new life into fitness because it is a game for all ages and people love games, especially fun ones.

Technology has come a long way in the 30 years since I opened my first gym. One technological advance I brought into my gyms was the HDTV on cardio machines. It personalized people’s workouts, making them easy, fun, and interesting – the secret to get people moving.

So, who cares that people are getting their daily does of fitness via something that doesn’t really exist? You know sometimes getting healthy and fit means trying something new and different. Or, in today’s age, it may mean trying something that isn’t really there at all.

I’m beginning to believe that the singularity is here.

Here’s to a Better You,


Larry North

Host of the Larry North “Better You” radio show

CBS KRLD 1080 am

Sundays 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm Central Time

Listen wordwide at

or join the show by calling 214.787.1080


*It is always a good idea to check with your doctor before starting an exercise program. And, getting your hormone levels optimized with BioTE® can be an important factor in your overall health.


BioTE® Medical practitioners are nationwide. For a provider near you, visit


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