I have just arrived home from my 30 minute evening walk around Forest Lake which is situated in the next suburb.

It was 5.30pm when I arrived at the lake, dark, cold by Brisbane standards and the first car park was full. The second car park had only two remaining car spaces. In five years since we moved here I have never experienced this on a Friday night. It’s normally very quiet. What is going on I thought?

In the next 30 minutes I encountered the normal dozen or so regular walkers, however I counted 152 Pokemon Go players ‘wandering around’ the lake!!!

When I say ‘wandering’, I am very generous with the description. About 75% were stationary, either sitting on seats, grassy areas near lights or under lamp post. All glued to the screens of their devices.

Three plump women in their late twenties who were obviously not regular walkers, I welcomed to Friday night walking around Forest Lake and one of them remarked, “it’s amazing what gaming will force you to do”.

More and more research is being published on the benefits of walking. A month ago HEALTHbeat a weekly publication from the Harvard Medical School stated that …

“Walking for 2.5 hours a week — that’s just 21 minutes a day — can cut your risk of heart disease by 30% and lower your level of stress.”

Yes, 25% of the Pokemon Go players were walking and playing at the same time. Healthy activity.

One young bloke I needed to rescue from walking into the lake. I was turning left as I stepped off a foot bridge and the Pokemon Go player approaching me moved to his right instead of his left to avoid walking into me. I quickly reached out and grabbed him as one more step and he would have been ‘in the lake’. A cold and unpleasant experience tonight.

Wow… outside activity definitely beats sitting inside playing electronic games. On Wednesday I encountered a handful of players when I went for a lunchtime lake walk. This group were walking and also getting a good dose of vitamin D.

My mind has been vacillating over the past few days between, is Pokemon Go a stress generating activity or a stress relieving activity?

I guess the answer is that as stress is a perception, the outcome of an individual’s Pokemon Go experience is governed by their belief around the relaxing nature of playing the game as against the stress caused by the frustration of not being successful in achieving their desired outcome while playing the game.

Maybe, as the craze runs it normal course more and more younger adults will be outdoors more often, they may also realise a daily walk is life enhancing and not life depleting.

Enjoy your Pokemon Go games if you find it a way to relax and destress.

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