PokemonGo is the video game of our dreams, and it finally is a reality.
Not all of the features are exactly what as cool as we could have wanted, but it actually is the first step of living out childhood fantasies in real life, and what is even better is that contrary to games such as Halo or World of Warcraft, it can improve your health instead of making you a potato!
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last week or are visiting the internet for the first time in a while, PokemonGo has officially been launched to the American public, as well as a large part of the rest of the world.
If you’ve been living under a rock or without internet for the past decade (2 decades?), Pokémon is one of, if not the largest gaming franchises in the world.
Beginning as a television show and a card game back in the 90s, Pokemon has now transitioned in to an “augmented reality” (nobody really know what this means) game which can help you get in shape, and have the time of your life simultaneously!
What is Augmented Reality and Why Can It Help Us Get in Shape?
Truthfully, nobody really knows or cares what “augmented reality” definitively means.
I’m sure I can google a definition for you, but essentially it means in this scenario that you need to leave your house and walk around the world to take part in the game. Pretty cool, right? Augmented reality games have been tested before, but never to the extent of PokemonGo.
Which 90s kid didn’t grow up wanting to be a Pokemon Master?! (and if you didn’t, don’t start now because the servers are already overloaded so stay off my game culture-vultures).
I’m here to simply tell you that PokemonGo is literally the perfect combination (no, “Wii-fit” does not count) of a video game and health and fitness!
PokemonGo and Exercise – The Video Game for Weight Loss
Let’s start from the beginning. You need to walk to become a Pokemon Master in this game!
As simple as this sound, it is amazingly powerful. Walking itself is an excellent and highly underutilized exercise, and whatever it is which finally makes people get up and go for walks is something that I am a fan of.
What is even better to me, is that the game doesn’t confuse people in to thinking they need to “jog” or “run” for any additional benefits! Jogging or running at a moderate is generally bad for all of your lower body joints and provides little to no additional benefits over walking.
Walk your city in search of Pokemon, but don’t go too fast because you might miss a rare one!
Calories Burned Through Walking
A general-moderate walking tempo is somewhere around 2.5mph, and for a 180lb human being that would result in around 100 calories burned.
The number isn’t exact because it is more controlled by heart rate which is effected by both surface and terrain, but that’s a fair estimate for you.
In PokemonGo, the more you walk, the more Pokemon you will catch.
It is widely believed that walking 10,000 steps per day adequately increases both your aerobic endurance as well as strengthening your heart to a healthy level, and PokemonGo is giving you an easy excuse to get your 10,000 steps in every day!
PokemonGo, the Sun, and Vitamin-D
Within the first week it has already been reported that PokemonGo has been helping individual with depression or depression-like symptoms with their daily mood as they now have a legit reason to go outside every single day.
This should not be overlooked for even a second!
Sunlight and the sun have incredible powers on our human body, more so than we even understand at this point I am sure. Amongst many other benefits, I will cover a few of the advantages that your body will receive from going outside every day to catch Pokemon!
Increases Oxygen Content in the Blood
According to mindbodygreen.com, the sun “enhances the body’s capacity to deliver oxygen to the tissues; very similar to the effects of exercise. The sun has a great effect on stamina, fitness and muscular development.”
The sun itself can literally increase the amount of oxygen you receive during a day, as well as how this oxygen is transported around your body.
Try an hour of PokemonGo after your next workout and see how it effects your overall recovery time!
Vitamin-D and the Sun
According to health.usnews.com, research has shown that “those with the lowest Vitamin D levels have more than double the risk of dying from heart disease and other causes over an eight-year period compared with those with the highest vitamin D levels.
The researchers cite “decreased outdoor activity” as one reason that people may become deficient in vitamin D.”
Vitamin-D is an essential part of our human system which fights disease, aids in overall weight loss, and fights depression.
Without adequate amounts of Vitamin-D through sunlight, diet, or supplementation (sunlight is so much better), many systems and processes in our bodies shut down. Get your Vitamin-D through playing PokemonGo!
Sunlight and Fighting Depression
It has been reported that sunlight might be the single best treatment for depression in the entire world, I’m serious.
If this is actually true, PokemonGo might literally be the single best treatment for depression in the entire world (low-key serious). As stated in womenshealthmag.com, “exposure to sunlight boosts serotonin levels in the brain.
Sunlight (or bright light, to be more exact) is the most abundant and easiest to absorb anti-depressant you will find. To receive your daily does of bright light all you need to do is open your eyes.
When bright light reaches the retina it stimulates the optic nerve, which sends a signal to the part of the brain that regulates production of serotonin and melatonin.”
Ergo, PokemonGo is about to literally fight back against depression in our society! (Just waiting on a couple doctors to back me on this one). If you’re feeling down about something, try going out during the day and catching 15-20 Pokemon!
You’ll probably walk around 10,000 steps, and your brain will love the exposure to the sun!
Can PokemonGo Improve Social Issues?
I am going to move so-far off the beaten path with this one that I am sure some people will stop reading here, but I implore you to try listening to me here!
The company that has released PokemonGo, Niantic, has made games similar to this before, and there already is a bit of a lineage to how the game will play out. In the past, Niantic has set up large group events that made it necessary to work as a team to uncover amazing prizes.
In PokemonGo, this would be the legendary Pokemon.
The very first trailer for PokemonGo should the legendary Pokemon Mewtwo fighting in Times Square, New York City.
Imagine a world where everyone would need to work together to collectively achieve the prize of a legendary Pokemon? Talk about unity!
Races, genders, religions, sexualities, and all other terms would be forced to collectively work together for one common goal, sounds like America to me!
Now, who knows if this is going to actually be the case, but if Niantic has any desire to benefit the world further I think this would be awesome!
To relate this to a health and fitness standpoint, losing contempt or hatred for any person or group in this world is amazing for overall brain health and cortisol levels, thus making it easier for your body to get in shape.
Yes, it is a stretch, but sometimes you have to dream of positive things; right?
Concluding Thoughts – Pokemon Go Health Benefits
Regardless of the reason, getting up and walking outside is amazing for your health.
Whether it is the allure of a Pikachu, or just understanding it is good for your body, there really is not a bad reason.
Astonishingly, PokemonGo has actually become the video game to finally help people get in shape, and not detract from physical condition.
I really hope that Niantic continues to improve the game and keep people exploring the world, because it really is an amazing world once you get outside your house!
Nobody may understand what “augmented reality” actually means, but who needs to with all of these benefits!
Yes, PokemonGo is literally good for your health. Please do not play while driving, it is borderline illegal and very dangerous, and it detracts from the fun of the game overall (Ash never had a car).
Use this game for the fun that it is, and don’t be afraid to program it in to your weekly workouts!