The health and fitness benefits of Pokemon Go


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Well we finally have a mobile game that encourages users to get up and be active! A massive well done to the creators of Pokemon Go for developing a mobile interface that actively encourages people to get up, get moving, clock up thousands of steps and burn calories. And it seems that as long as you keep a close eye on what is going on around you, engaging in Pokemon Go is a much more enjoyable way to burn some serious calories and much more entertaining than going to the gym.

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scrnAs we get fatter and fatter, and as our kids get fatter and fatter, we are very quick to blame our increasingly sedentary lifestyles. Whether it is time spent online for work, mobile addicted teens or game addicted children, as humans we sit down more than ever before. The metabolic effects of this are catastrophic.

Not only do we burn fewer and fewer calories but over time we fail to maintain optimal muscle mass which in turn means we burn fewer and fewer calories. Weight gain is the result, and the lifestyle diseases including diabetes, heart disease and cancer that accompany it. Health professionals continue to suggest we keep a record of our steps and be active every day but with the pressures of busy lives, is it any wonder this is a priority way down on the list.

The simple idea of developing a fun and free way to get active is a brilliant idea for both children and adults alike. Suddenly we have kids and teens outside the home, often involving parents in their play, and we have more adults moving and having fun. So as long as you look before you cross the road, Pokemon Go is a thumbs up from me.

Here are our top tips when playing Pokemon Go:

Hatch eggs

effIf you haven’t discovered eggs yet, tap the red Pokeball on your screen, tap Pokemon then swipe left to see your eggs. Your eggs can be incubated to hatch new Pokemon but to do this you must walk a certain number of kilometres. So pick a 5Km or 10Km egg (you’ll generally only get pretty useless Pokemon from the 2Km ones), get walking, and before long you’ll be prompted to watch your new addition hatch. A great way to motivate yourself to get out there and walk.

Don’t walk and stare down

settWhilst it’s tempting to stare at the screen as you’re walking around, this is where problems can arise. Jump into settings and make sure “Vibration” and “Battery Saver” are set to on. Then work out where you’re walking to next, put the phone in your pocket and walk to your next Pokestop or Pokemon Gym. Once you get there, and have a safe place to stop, pull out your phone and continue playing. If you encounter a Pokemon on the way your phone will vibrate to alert you, so you won’t miss anything. If that happens, again find a safe place to stop, take out your phone to catch it, then keep walking.

Oh and with “Battery Saver” selected your phone screen will go black if you tip your phone upside down (like when it’s in your pocket) but your kilometres will still be tracked, so you can set and forget and enjoy the scenery.

Go catching with the kids

You’d be hard pressed to find a kid in Australia who hasn’t heard of Pokemon Go yet. So if they’re pestering you to put the app on your phone, and it fits with your philosophy regarding screen time and gaming, give it a try and go Pokemon catching together. Not only can you be there to help reinforce the safety message of remaining alert at all times when out of the house, but it’s a really fun way to keep them moving and play together.

Keep it updated

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Oh and finally, you may have to get used to seeing error messages like this one on the left. Pokemon Go is only a week old as we write this and is immensely popular already (it’s the top free game app in iTunes), but there are still a few bugs and server issues for the developers to iron out.

So be patient with it, but be sure to look for updates which are being released fairly often and keep your app up to date.

Enjoy playing safely, we’re off out to try and catch us a Pikachu. Gotta catch ‘em all!

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