Skip to main content

How to protect your real body while playing Pokémon Go

How to protect your real body while playing Pokémon Go


Blisters? Sore muscles? Sunburn? We can help

Share this story

So you've been playing Pokémon Go and you've been walking a lot more than you usually do. Maybe your legs and feet are tired, maybe you have blisters, maybe you're sunburnt, maybe that really awesome Pikachu (CP ??, which means it's beefy as heck) slipped away. I can't fix the elusiveness of Pokémon, but I can probably give you some tips on how to cut down on some of the other things. Most days I walk for at least five miles, sometimes with a big pack on my back that contains all my survival gear; I may have some solutions to your physical problems.

Before you go out:

Make sure you're wearing appropriate footwear. Sneakers or walking shoes are ideal. If you're going to do a lot of walking, you need something that won't rub or pinch.

Ditch the cotton socks. Cotton absorbs moisture, which means that it will leave your feet damp and sweaty. It also takes a long time to dry. Pure cotton socks make blisters more likely, because they mean it's more likely that your feet are damp, and that increases friction. Antiperspirants and powders have limited use in cutting this down. Better to use wool, or weaves of performance and natural fibers.

ash ketchum

Nice hat, Ash.

Get Sun protection. Your sunscreen is more effective if you apply it 15 minutes before you go outside. (For more information on what sunscreen to buy, check this article out.) Sunglasses are also clutch because they protect your eyes from UV rays. Find a lip balm with SPF — your lips need protection too. It may also be worth wearing a hat (a baseball cap will do just fine) to help protect your scalp and part. Perhaps you are thinking "But my skin is dark enough that I don't burn, why would I do this?" People with dark skin can also get skin cancer, though the most-common sites are different and the cancers are different, too. (All of us should be checking in on dark spots or moles on our skin to make sure they aren't growing in scary ways.) Avoid going out during the middle of the day, when the Sun's rays are strongest.

Take your allergy medication. A lot of us are allergic to pollen! If that's you, make sure to take your allergy medication before you go out.

While you're out:

Drink water. Particularly during summer, it's easy to get dehydrated. If you live in a place without much humidity, your sweat may evaporate so quickly you don't even notice how much water you're losing.

Do blister patrol. Are you feeling a hotspot on your foot, a specific area that's uncomfortable? That may be the beginning of a blister. Put some moleskin or a liquid bandage over the hotspot to protect your skin. Consider changing your socks to a dry pair.

Reapply your sunscreen. Really. You may sweat it off, first of all, and second, you should reapply every two hours anyway. Set a timer if you need to!

Remain aware of your surroundings. That Doduo is not worth walking into traffic. Make sure you're aware of cars, bike lanes, and other pedestrians. If you know you tend to get hyperfocused on catching 'em all, spend your time in a park or other area where traffic isn't allowed. But be considerate of other people's space, too — you don't want to bump into someone and cause a confrontation. Avoid trespassing or hanging around strangers' houses. You don't know who you're dealing with, so it's better to be cautious.


Stretch sore muscles. This can help relieve pain. Here are some suggested stretches for hikers, which apply just as well to pokémon catching. While stretching hasn't been shown to prevent injury, it does feel really good.

Look into topical pain relief, like Icy Hot. While you may be tempted to pop an ibuprofen to help relieve the pain from sore muscles, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs — that's the class that ibuprofen, aspirin, and other over-the-counter painkillers fall in — can interfere with muscle development. (Also, they may not really help.) You want your muscles to develop, because that'll make you less sore on your next walk. So rub yourself down with a liniment instead. I am extremely preferential to Icy Hot, which I accepted as my personal fragrance many years ago, but there are other options that work just as well. Don't combine these liniments with hot and cold treatments, though.

Get hot — or get cold. Let's say you weren't so good at staying aware of your surroundings, and twisted an ankle. You should probably ice that down as soon as you can. If you're just feeling achy from exercise, adding heat to the area or taking a hot bath may help — but skip this if there's a sunburn in play.

Consider a foam roller. Really, these do incredible things on tight and sore muscles. They're cheap, too! If you can afford it, go ahead and get a good massage. It'll help.

Treat your blisters. Some of us are prone to blisters (Hello! It's me! I am prone to blisters!) and even if you do your best to prevent them, they may form anyway. Avoid popping them; the fluid will drain on its own, and leaving the blister intact will guard against infection. Use a bandage to protect your blister. If you must pop a blister — my rule of thumb is that I pop them if they seem likely to pop on their own — be sure to sterilize the area, your hands, and the needle you use to do it. Leave the skin that was covering the blister in place; it'll protect the skin underneath. Bandage the blister and monitor for signs of infection, like red streaks on your skin. If the blister occurs under a nail, talk to a doctor; don't try to drain it on your own.

Treat your sunburn. Look for aloe vera lotions and take cold showers to help relieve some of the pain. Drink extra water — the burn will draw extra fluid to the surface of the skin. Aspirin and ibuprofen may also help with pain relief. And — this is very important — make sure to protect the burn while it heals. That may mean wearing long-sleeved shirts for a while.

Pokémon Go Advanced Tips