You’ve probably heard about Pokémon Go, the GPS-based augmented reality mobile game that has taken the country by storm. It’s all over social media spawning hugot lines and memes, and at first it may seem like a hyped millennial trend that’s bound to pass – until experts tell you that you probably should get on the bandwagon if want to start getting healthy.
Unlike many mobile games that are short of strapping your fanny on your seat, Pokémon Go requires you to get out and get moving. If you want to collect imaginary little creatures, hatch eggs, and collect items that will aid you in your journey to being the best Pokémon trainer around, you’ll need to walk around a lot. Sure, you can catch Pokémon while traveling along EDSA, but the best way to experience the game is by exploring lure-rich areas such as local parks and famous tourist sites on foot.
“Playing the game is a lot of fun, and it has been a catalyst to get people moving,” explains Texas A&M College of Nursing clinical assistant professor Matt Hoffman, DMP, on Science Daily. “What began as just playing the game has now become a hobby for me that provides certain health benefits. I’ve spent an hour or two at a time venturing around the community to find Pokéstops. And, to hatch one egg, a trainer must walk anywhere from one to six miles. There’s no doubt about it, I am exercising more as a result of playing the game, and I am enjoying it.”
Hoffman is one of the approximately 21 million people who walk around to play the game. According to Mayo Clinic, walking can give your body a huge boost by strengthening your bones and muscles, maintaining healthy weight, and preventing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Pokémon Go is also known to encourage social interaction. Pokémon trainers find themselves grouping together at Pokéstops with lures, with some starting real-life friendships over the game. “Especially right now, with the violence and division we’re seeing in the news, it’s important to get to know our communities better and discover our neighbors,” says Forbes contributor Tara Haelle. “[Pokémon GO] is something all ages can enjoy, even something that can bring couples and families together.”
Of course, the game is not without its cons. There have been news abroad about Pokémon Go causing accidents due to pedestrian distraction, with a trainer in Japan even falling off the stairs while chasing Pokémon. The game itself constantly reminds players to be aware of their surroundings as well as to keep off the wheel while in-app. The key is to exercise caution and discipline: Doing so won’t only make Pokémon Go more fun than it already is, it will help you become “the very best like no one ever was.”
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