Pokémon: GO Get Fit

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pokemon-goA couple of weeks ago I commented on the mentality that gamers have that make them excellent candidates for becoming gym rats and just two days later I was proven right! Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past 3 weeks I’m sure you have at least heard of Pokémon GO. It’s basically taken over social media with meme’s and videos popping up everywhere. Even 3 weeks since its release, the hype is as large as ever! Of course, I downloaded it as soon as I heard about it because who doesn’t want to be the very best in real life Ash Ketchum?!

Why the Hype?!

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Pokémon GO is the number one mobile game at the moment crushing Candy Crush with over 21 MILLION downloads already. What is great about this game is it forces the player to be active. If you’re unfamiliar with Pokémon (I’m sorry for your loss) it’s essentially an RPG game turned TV series that follows a main Pokémon trainer through his epic journey where he travels across the land searching for the best and most rare Pokémon. What this game emulates is just that. The player has to use their phone and actually walk around and hunt these creatures. While exploring your town you will find all sorts of various Pokémon, Pokéstops, and trainer gyms where you can battle the Pokémon that you have caught. This sense of adventure and exploration makes the game extremely addicting and enjoyable.

Gotta Catch ‘Em All!

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If you decide to join the craze you’re going to find yourself walking a lot. In 3 weeks I have walked/ran 36.2 miles meaning an extra 12 miles per week! With my fairly busy life I really haven’t played nearly as much as a lot of others out there. For the record these miles are unrelated to the program I’m currently following, Shortcut to Size. This is 100% extra anaerobic exercise I’m doing just for fun! Clearly there are health benefits to be gained from playing this game.

Walking is one of the earliest activities we ever learn to do. Before I got my first car I would walk or bike everywhere in my town. To school, friend’s houses, just out exploring the woods…  but once that sweet 16 came I felt the need to roll around in style in that 1998 purple civic hatchback. Walking is a great low impact activity that burns calories, improves mood, reduces risk of heart disease, improves brain function, reduces stress and it is fun. If you need more reasons on top of all those health benefits to get out there and walk more then I choose you Pokémon GO!

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According to Harvard Medical, calories burnt walking is dependent on your weight. So for me (currently 190) I burn about 120 calories/miles. So just from playing Pokémon I’ve walked off 1440 calories per week. 1 pound is equal to 3,500 calories. So just by getting out and walking I’ve saved myself from storing 4320 calories or 1.25lbs in the past 3 weeks. The best part is that since you’re out having fun you hardly even realize how far you’re actually walking. STORY TIME:

When you play the game you find eggs that you can hatch by “incubating” them when you walk certain distances. One day I had gone with the intention of just hatching my elusive 10km egg. After an hour or so I was the proud new owner of my very own Aerodactyl! Hot, tired and sweaty, I decided to head home but on my way back a Blastoise (my favorite Pokémon) appeared on my in-game radar near me. As giddy as a childhood boy I ran all around the park I was at trying to find it! When I say ran I mean RAN! I didn’t want to miss this opportunity so my pace varied from a light jog to sprinting.  Sad to say but I never did find my favorite cannon wielding Mon but on the plus side I got another 30 minutes of actual cardio that I wouldn’t have gotten just because the game keeps urging you to play!

Make some Pokéfriends

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Yup I said it! Pokéfriends! The demographic of this community is great! When I go out to my favorite park I bump into all sorts of people; parents and even grandparents out with their kids, middle and high schoolers on bikes, college kids and graduates. It honestly seems like everyone is playing this game whether they are an old-school Pokémon fan or not. There is no need to be embarrassed or ashamed. Its good healthy fun for all ages! My once Poké-hater girlfriend is now a beloved Eevee hunter. While you’re out and about most people are very friendly and I talk to everyone, have some banter about which team they chose and where they’ve seen rare Pokémon. During my Blastoise expedition, I had about 10 other people all running around searching far and wide hunting with me.

Pokémon GO is a breath of fresh air for a society that spends far too much time being inactive and introverted. There are success stories all over the internet showing just how positive of an impact getting out and being active can be. It’s already begun to help people combat obesity and overcome social anxiety. I’ve even heard stories of people buying bikes just to expand the areas they hunt for Pokémon. As a 90’s kid who had every freaking Pokémon card and game under the sun… I’m stoked!  So if you need any excuse to start walking, running or biking,  grab the app and get out there to understand the power that’s inside you!

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