Pokémon GO Benefits Beyond the Hype


On July 7th, Pokémon GO was released to the US. I've played it every single day since and it is helping me reach the fitness goals set by my Apple Watch. As a kid I would wake up before the crack of dawn to sit under my covers and play Pokémon Blue or Silver on Gameboy until I was forced to get ready for school, grinding away at leaving up my Poké Pals in preparation for some big battles I planned with friends. Now instead of walking up and down virtual routes in the Kanto region, I find myself walking in circles in my daily life to hatch and catch Pokémon and battle gyms. This is more work than I dreamed about as a kid, but the psychology of the early game is good enough to hook me to want more.

As of this writing, there have been news articles trickling out talking about how Niantic's record-breaking mobile app has plateaued since its debut, but it has given me more of a reason to go out and nail my exercise and active calorie goals on my watch. The watch in an end of itself has helped me be more active, take more walks, and be more aware of how being active affects the way I feel overall, but I'm not perfect. I made excuses to avoid walking around more than the day required out of laziness and boredom I made excuses to avoid walking around more than the day required. (There's plenty of YouTube that needs to be watched!) I have noticed since the game's release, I have developed a habit of taking at least an hour walk every morning, even in light rain!

I'm fortunate that there are Pokéstops and Pokémon gyms fairly close to where I live and work. Not too close that I don't have to leave my house to collect items, but not so far that making a trip to a gym requires more than a few blocks' walk. This has helped me get out more than I would otherwise. Games like this can really improve individual health by making it fun to get up and leave the couch, leaving the YouTube binges for later.