Get the most out of Pokemon Go!


Gotta Catch 'Em All

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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.

Pokemon GoWhile 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?


How the game works

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.


How to play safely and responsibly

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:

  • Watch where you're going. You don't want to crash into somebody or cross the street without looking both ways, so be aware of your surroundings. (This also goes for people who text while walking.)
  • Please don't drive and Pokemon. We are not kidding.
  • Please be mindful of where you go hatch eggs and catch characters — you don't want to trespass on someone's property.
  • Be mindful of public spaces, such as cemeteries — be courteous and respectful.


How to rack up some sweet cardio benefits

Pokemon GoTruFusion instructor Cristina Osorio also has some advice on how you can maximize your Pokemon Go experience:

  • Wear comfortable walking shoes. Once you start your hunt, you don’t want to be foiled by a painful blister.
  • If you don’t get outside much, start by playing the game during your lunch break or after work. We all have to start somewhere, and even if you walk a few blocks, you'll be on your way to getting active and burning calories.
  • Instead of driving to a landmark, walk around and get to know your city.
  • Be aware of the jogger medal area of your player page! This doubles as a step tracker that will show you exactly how far you've traveled. You can burn approximately 100 calories for every mile you walk.
  • Increase your speed. The faster you walk, the more distance you will cover, the more characters you will catch and the more calories you will burn.
  • Once you have mastered the speed component, take your game uphill or consider carrying a weighted bag. While walking on inclines and adding weights won’t increase your step count, it will increase the calories you burn. 
  • If you want to get even more fitness-oriented, incorporate interval training into your catching technique. Jog to a Pokestop, catch the characters and spin for items. Sprint to the next Pokestop and repeat — just make sure you're not catching Pokemon while you are sprinting! Safety first! Cool down while walking back home.
  • If you have a dog, take him along for some exercise. And if you don’t have one, walk a dog from a local shelter. The shelter and the dog will appreciate it. Just be sure to pick up after the dog while playing the game!


How the game is helping others

The benefits of playing Pokemon Go extend beyond getting active. Here are just a few feel-good reports from across the nation.


Mental health

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."

Muncie Animal Shelter - walk a shelter dog!

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.


Gotta Catch 'Em All

Check out what it's all about here:

Download Pokemon Go free on Google Play or the App Store

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.