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Pokémon Go – A New Way To Get Fit

Posted on October 10, 2016 by Chrystal Hedges

Have you downloaded the Pokémon Go app yet? I got it the night it was released and have played almost every day since. The app is a game which allows you to catch Pokémon by physically tracking them in your area. It has shown people of all ages just how easy and fun exercise can be. Although the app itself has received both good and bad criticism in recent months, it still demonstrates the power that apps can have on us.

  

Health professionals have been encouraging exercise for decades. Within the span of a weekend, Pokémon Go accomplished their goals without calling it exercise. Within the game, you can hatch eggs which generally have the rarer Pokémon inside them. Here’s the catch though – you need to walk 2, 5, or 10 kilometers in order to hatch them. The 10 kilometer eggs typically have the better Pokémon, the better reward. Oh, and don’t even try to cheat. Of course people started playing while driving to hatch their eggs the lazy way, but the app now knows when you are in a vehicle based on your GPS coordinates and speeds and does not count this distance.

Pokémon Go allows people to socialize in a way that makes them feel comfortable. Personally, I have spent Friday nights going on walks with a neighbor playing Pokémon Go and haven’t thought twice about it. When I look back, I realize I wasn’t spending any money, I was socializing, I had a ton fun and I got exercise without knowing it.The majority of Pokémon players are not playing for exercise, they’re playing for pleasure. It is fun! I am seeing first-hand how easy it is to get up and move around when you find your own reason.

Players aren’t pressured into an exercise routine they don’t want to do.This is the secret to success for exercise: finding an enjoyable way to move that is easy for you to engage in. In this case, there happens to be a reward – a Pokémon. Other people exercise to be able to eat more, to improve their body image, to fit comfortably into a specific piece of clothing, etc. but luckily a Pokémon is harmless, free and does not affect the future (except it could contribute to you leveling up in the game).

This idea is also not limited to Pokémon Go. Obviously, not everyone will enjoy running around their town catching Pokémon. However, the same idea can be applied to new apps and ideas that are centered on different populations. The driving point is that exercise can be achieved in a multitude of ways but the secret to success is finding a way you enjoy that is sustainable and caters to your needs.

Chrystal Hedges's picture

Chrystal Hedges

chrystal.hedges@omes.ok.gov
Chrystal Hedges received her Bachelor's of Science degree from St. Gregory's University in Shawnee, Oklahoma and received her Master's of Public Health in Health Promotion Sciences from OU Health Sciences Center. She has ten and a half years of experience working in the public health arena promoting and advocating for health and well-being in various capacities. Her current role as a well-being program coordinator is to provide state employees and their families with information and opportunities to learn, grow and enrich their lives for the better. Her passion and advocacy for health and well-being has led her to one of the most important roles in her life, serving as a foster and adoptive parent. Ms. Hedges has been a foster parent for 5 years and currently has two foster children and two adoptive children.