Have you caught Pokemon Go fever? If you haven't, then you probably know somebody who has. The new mobile game app, based on the trading card game popular in 1995, has players glued to their phones.
While curmudgeons may be tempted to dismiss the game as yet another trendy mobile app sucking up everyone's attention, it looks like this Pokemon Go craze does offer some pretty neat benefits.
For starters, it's gotten people off their sofas and outdoors. Many players report that since downloading the app, they have logged more miles and burned more calories than they typically would have.
Finally, a game that gets you to break harmful sedentary habits! Who knew?
The app uses your smartphone camera and GPS to place Pokemon in your immediate surroundings — grocery store shelves, parking lots, the office toilets, you name it. Once you spot the Pokemon on your screen, you catch it to earn points.
Of course, because you'll have your nose in your phone while racking up impressive step counts, it's important to remember some helpful safety tips:
TruFusion instructor Cristina Osorio also has some advice on how you can maximize your Pokemon Go experience:
The benefits of playing Pokemon Go extend beyond getting active. Here are just a few feel-good reports from across the nation.
Although it points out that some people are saying their depression is worse because they can't get outside to play the game, Psyche Central reports that many have taken to social media to credit the game with helping them cope with the mental health, mood, social anxiety and even depression.
A family in Hacienda Heights credits the game with bringing them closer together and helping them connect with their 14-year-old son who is autistic. The boy's mother, Dianna Blake, told KABC that she goes with her son, Matthew, on walks to catch Pokemon — it's given them something in common over which they can bond. Furthermore, Blake credits the game for teaching Matthew real-life skills, such as collaboration, teamwork and problem-solving.
Animals in need
The Muncie Animal Shelter in Indiana took out an ad encouraging Pokemon Go players to take shelter dogs out for walks while they're out capturing Pikachus, Meowths and Rattatas. Bored Panda reports that shelters director Phil Peckinpaugh "got the idea after noticing people hunting Pokemon all over the city. He joined forces with Sam Wiser, an intern at the mayor’s office, and together they came up with the ad that’s since been shared almost 25,000 times. Just one hour after the initiative was announced, lines of children and adults appeared at the shelter volunteering to walk the dogs."
The exposure is giving the dogs not only some much-needed TLC and exercise but also facilitating adoptions. KTLA reports that Positive Paws Rescue Transport in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has seen an increase in potential adopters who have not just expressed interest in dogs but also filled out applications. How pawsome is that?
Just as fantastic is this story of animal rescue in Houston, Texas. The Dodo reports that Sara Perez and Matthew Teague went to a local park to catch Pokemon and found a cage containing 27 hamsters abandoned with no water and birdseed for food in the heat. The pair rescued the critters and gave them food and water. So far four of the hamsters have been adopted.
Sure, there are negatives, but it's also nice to recognize the many (and sometimes surprising) positives.
Check out what it's all about here:
Cristina Osorio contributed advice on how Pokemon Go players can maximize their cardiovascular activity. She is a senior instructor at TruFusion for the Kettlebell Department, and is the head designer and partner in NiyamaSOL, a fitness apparel company.