In two weeks, Nintendo has done more for fitness than anyone else in the last few years.
Somehow they have turned walking into a game everyone, not just nerds, enjoys.
Take a minute and think about that. Somehow, with nothing but a simple app and some cute digital creatures, Niantic has taken this Nintendo property and magically convinced people that walking around their neighborhood, or through local parks, is fun!
With Pokémon Go, life has become some sort of giant RPG-like scavenger hunt that everyone is playing.
In a month, Pokémon Go has become the number one mobile game in the world with over 75 million downloads worldwide.
I’m going to let that number sink in a minute.
That’s more than the population of Sweden, Portugal, Greece, Belgium, Cuba, Finland and Denmark combined!
So for the three of you out there not onboard the Pokémon train, here’s what it is all about:
Players use their phones to hunt and search for digital creatures (Pokémon) by getting out, and walking around, to find these creatures and capture them by throwing devices called Pokéballs at them. Players are rewarded for exploring new areas (as different Pokémon appear in different locations so finding all 151 types is a massive under-taking) as well for capturing and holding landmarks designated as Poké Gyms.
And if you are one of those people proudly proclaiming on the Internet how you are somehow above a harmless game that is getting people out of the house and being more social than you
can go #$%@ yourself should read on.
What’s The Point Of Catching Them All?
Other than the fact that is it super fun to rub it in your friends face when you catch a Pokémon they don’t have yet?
Well, to start, there is a sense of exploration and wonder that has captured so many people’s interest.
Don’t for a second brush this game off as something only for kids, or for people who were fans of Pokémon in the late 90s, because I have seen more grown-ass men and women (from all walks of life mind you) out-and-about Poké-hunting than kids.
Because, in very small ways, the game changes the every day mundane into fun little quests and activities.
- Boring trip to the grocery store? Now it’s a great opportunity to hit a bunch of Poké Stops to recharge your character!
- Dog need to go out for yet another walk? Fire up Pokémon Go and hatch some eggs while doing it.
- Significant other dragging you shopping? Get ready to snare a bunch of new Pokémon (malls are usually filled with them)!
Let’s also remember that, no matter who you are, child-like fun and imagination should be an important part of our lives!
Not to mention this is a great excuse for you and some friends to go out together to battle some Poké Gyms, or as something cute to do with someone you are interested in.
Yes, Poké Dates are a thing and they are adorable.
The best thing about all of this though?
Almost everything done in the game is accomplished by walking!
In fact, to make sure you are walking and not Poké Driving or anything like that, certain features stop working if you are going over 12.5 MPH.
It’s pretty genius because walking is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. Especially if you’re an office worker who spends most of the day sitting behind a keyboard!
There have been numerous studies over the years that show walking 5,000 – 10,000 steps a day will improve not only your general health but also improve your mood, lower anxiety and help your posture. It’s why I am so on board with all the FitBit challenges people engage in.
One of the most compelling parts of the game is hatching your eggs. Eggs are categorized into 2, 5 and 10km eggs denoting how far you have to walk in order to hatch them and the rarity of the Pokemon that can appear (depending on how many Incubators you have in your inventory, you can be working on several at once.) It’s like a constant stream of little presents, and the anticipation is real.
Prepare yourself for the joy of hatching your first Rapidash, with its glorious flaming mane, and for the fist-shaking rage that occurs when a Pidgey pokes his beak through the shell.
$^%& YOU, PIDGEY!
Those are the little things the game does to pepper your day with fun little distractions and pick-me-ups, and why it can be so magical.
We have said it before here on the site (and honestly, I feel like I will keep saying it until the end of time):
So while packing a healthy lunch and taking a walk through your local park twice a week to hunt for Pokémon might not seem like much, if you couple that with walking around on your lunch break working on hatching eggs and strolling through your local mall hitting all the Poké Stops every Sunday, it is going to add up!
Before you know it, Pokémon Go might help you develop some new healthy habits too…
For some, the game itself will be motivation enough to get out and about and will provide some healthy benefits; but what about those of you aspiring Jerdlings that want more of a challenge?
How can you use the game to level yourselves up even more?
Working Out With Pokémon Go!
While Pokémon Go will definitely get your legs moving as you go hunting for these elusive creatures, there are ways you can turn these fun walks in nature into full-blown workouts if you are so inclined.
Are you ready?
I guarantee after a few weeks of Poké-training, you will notice a difference in yourself!
PokéTips For Becoming a Master Trainer
Pokémon Go is a relatively new game, so undoubtedly things will change as Niantic tweaks and changes the game over time. So any in-depth strategy tips developed this early on will probably end up being useless, but I want to give you aspiring Poké Masters some tips to help you in your quest to be the best!
First off, if you’re totally new, be sure to open up your game menu and in the upper right-click on “tips”. It will give you a quick tutorial on some important game elements!
That is only going to get you so far though, as fun as the game is it is terrible at explaining how to actually play it.
Here are my top tips and tricks to get you started!
- Tracking Pokémon – Currently the radar, in the lower right corner, is pretty useless. But word on the street is that in the next update they will be bringing this functionality back… so keep your eyes peeled.
- Pokémon Hot Spots – You’re more likely to find larger amounts of Pokémon near high traffic areas like malls, parks, monuments, etc…
- Vary Your Hunting Times – Some Pokémon are not only geography dependent, but also time dependent. Try going out at night and see all the different Pokémon you can find.
- Don’t Be A Hoarder – Use those razz berries to make it easier to catch higher CP Pokémon, it will help stop them from escaping!
- Turn Off Your AR – Augmented Reality can be fun, but until you get your throwing technique down it might frustrate you. Just hit that toggle switch in the upper right hand corner when trying to catch a Pokémon to turn it off.
- Shoot For Bonuses – Nice, Great, and Excellent throw bonuses earn an extra 10, 50, and 100 XP bonus respectively, plus they increase your chance of catching the Pokémon. So hold the Pokéball and watch for a shrinking colored circle; your goal, to hit the circle with your throw. The smaller the circle, the bigger the bonus!
- Grind Up Useless Pokémon – Transfer your unwanted Pokémon back to the Professor. That will reward you with more candy you can use to power up, or evolve, your higher CP Pokémon.
- Speaking of Evolving – Don’t bother evolving a Pokémon unless his power meter (that half-circle bar over its picture) is over 3/4 full.
Finally, looking to level up fast?
Of course you are… So try this method on for size!
Since using a Lucky Egg doubles your experience bonus for 30 minutes, you can layer a few other in-game options on top of that to make the most of your half-hour window. Give this system a try for a massive bump in experience:
- Take a few days and save up as much candy as you can. Make sure you save a few of each Pokémon though, for evolving.
- Find a Poké Stop and drop a lure on it (lasts 30 minutes).
- Pop an Incense (lasts 30 minutes).
- Crack your Lucky Egg (lasts 30 minutes).
- Start evolving everything you can in between catching the obscene amount of Pokémon that will spawn for you.
You can easily jump up a few levels with this method, especially when you are just starting out!
Even if you aren’t sold on the Pokémon Go craze, just remember that getting out and about doesn’t have to be a boring chore.
Find something, anything, that makes you want to rekindle some semblance of childhood wonder and curiosity in the world around you.
Maybe it is:
- Rock collecting
- Nature photography
Just find something you enjoy, that will get you walking around and getting some fresh air on the regular.
And if you do decide to give Pokémon Go a whirl, I hope you enjoy it!
I mean, wouldn’t you rather get outside and play a game instead of mindlessly running on a treadmill? Of course you would.
While it isn’t going to replace your strength training gym workouts, it is not a bad way to get some supplemental calorie burning done during your day!
When you think about it, it is really pretty hard to argue about a free game that gets you walking around, burning calories, improving your health, and doing it outside under the sun.
So get out there, throw some Pokéballs, capture a Jigglypuff or a Snorlax, and have fun doing it.
Oh, and one final note, please use common sense. Don’t be that #$%^@er who is trespassing trying to hunt down a Pikachu. Okay?
What team are you repping? What’s your favorite Pokémon you have caught so far?!? Let me know in the comments!
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