“Pokemon Go” has been shown to help engage exercise without people even realizing they are obtaining this additional benefit.

Tips for safety and exercise with “Pokemon Go”

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By now, many have played - or have at least heard of - the latest technology phenomenon, “Pokemon Go.” You’ve probably seen people posting about it on social media, or walking around your neighborhood staring at their smartphone. "Pokemon Go" is an augmented realty app on your smartphone that syncs to Google maps and shows Pokemon characters in your physical area. In order to play, you must walk around to try to capture as many Pokemon as possible for points. According to an article from The New Yorker, people are playing this game for an average of 43 minutes a day. 

The general guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association recommend, on average, 30-45 minutes of sustained moderate exercise or 20-30 minutes of vigorous activity five days a week. It has been proven that breaking up this activity in miniature increments throughout your day is just as effective as obtaining all 45 minutes at one time.   

“Pokemon Go” has been shown to help engage exercise without people even realizing they are obtaining this additional benefit. The game promises rewards for your movement efforts - meaning the further you travel, the more Pokemon you capture. So, let’s discuss a few health and safety tips while playing “Pokemon Go” as a means of obtaining physical activity: 

  • Tip #1: Be Safe. While playing “Pokemon Go,” always be aware of your surroundings. Do not run, walk or jump in unsafe territory in order to find Pokemon. No animated creature is worth risking your life. 
  • Tip #2: Know Your Limits.  If you are not able to run or jump, don't. Simply walk to capture Pokemon.
  • Tip #3: Stop and Give Me 10. To maximize your time spent, if using this as your means of exercise, incorporate some simple calisthenics into the routine. For example, for every 10 minutes you walk, or after each Pokemon you capture, stop and do 10 pushups, 10 sits and 10 air squats. You can repeat for as many rounds as you would like, or do just one and then continue your walk. This is a way of incorporating some core or strength moves into your activity, as well as increasing the intensity, which may help burn more calories. 
  • Tip #4: Stay Well Hydrated. Depending on where you live, plan your Pokemon outing accordingly and make sure you have plenty of fluids with you. 
  • Tip #5: Count Your Steps. Use your iPhone or Droid fitness tracker to calculate your steps. Try to obtain 10,000 steps or more per day. This could be another goal aside from seeing how many Pokemon you can obtain. 
  • Tip #6: Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Sunscreen. Remember to always wear sunscreen when you are going outside in the sun to search for Pokemon.

As long as people are making safe choices on where they search for Pokemon, walking is by far one of the best exercises out there that almost anyone can do. And, it’s free. Not only are adults reaping the exercise benefits of playing Pokemon, but the game is also helping parents get their children to engage in more physical activity.  Even if you don’t chose to download “Pokemon Go,” get up and go - even if it means using another form of motivation, like a fitness app. The most important thing is to find some form of exercise that you enjoy and make it routine. So, whether it’s playing “Pokemon Go,” using another smartphone app or something else, just stick with it and have fun!