Approximate read time: 2 minutes
If you haven’t heard of Pokémon GO by now then you must be hiding under a Onyx (that’s a ‘rock’ pokemon 😜).
It’s a game downloadable on your smart phone that launched in July. By the end of the month it had over 100 million downloads and 20 million daily users. As with anything new and popular, Pokémon Go has received its own fair share of critics. Some complain of Pokémon GO being a “safety hazard” since kids are spending so much time walking while staring at their phones. Others complain about it being “too addicting”. People love to hate on video games and usually I am 100% on board: video games cause kids and teens to spend so much time inside being inactive in a society whose healthcare system is desperate for the population to increase their activity levels.
But Pokémon GO is far from your everyday video game. It involves getting up and moving around your neighborhood and may even be useful to improve fitness levels. The game encourages walking and moving. In order to make it to the Pokéstops, collect the Pokéballs, and to catch the Pokémons you gotta get up and walk. The more you WALK the better chance you have at collecting the Pokémon and increasing levels. It is no wonder why Health promoters, public health researchers, and even personal trainers are giving the game a lot of praise!
In Canada, physical activity rates continue to decline as obesity and chronic health conditions continue to increase accordingly. Countless games, wearable devices, and apps have been designed to increase fitness and physical activity levels. Yet nothing has come close to the popularity of catching Zubats and Pikachus! Health promoters seem hopeful that this is the answer they’ve been looking for. The game has even been used as part of physical therapy programs in a hospital in Michigan to encourage kids to start moving. Only time will tell if this game will stick around long enough to help improve fitness levels!