Since the much anticipated release of Pokémon Go last week, it's been taking over your social media feeds. I'll admit, I'm guilty of posting my Pokémon Go encounters as well. I even created a separate Facebook Photo Album just for Pokémon Go pictures.
I'm definitely a fan of Pokémon, but when I heard about the development of an augmented reality mobile app game, I was extremely skeptical. I'm not really big on using my phone for gaming, so I originally wasn't planning on playing it at all. Once my friends started sharing screen grabs online, it made me a little curious.
After patiently waiting through all the server issues, I went for a walk along the bike path behind our home. Once I convinced my husband to join in on the fun, I'd unknowingly walked over 2 miles that entire day.
The next day, I hit the bike trail again. Since my son was with my parents, my whole Saturday afternoon was completely free. That day I clocked in a total of 5 miles walked! I was getting fresh air, exercise, AND I was having fun doing it.
I'm going to be honest with you all, I hate exercise. I've gone to gyms, tried workout DVDs at home, and I never enjoyed it or stuck with a routine. I work full time, and then come home and take care of my toddler all by myself (due to my husband and I working opposite shifts). When I get home, working out is the last thing on my mind.
Pokémon Go has changed my perspective on getting exercise. Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to have your face buried in your phone to play. For the casual Pokémon Trainer, I use my bluetooth earpiece to listen to the audio from the game. This way, I can go for a walk with my phone in my pocket, and when there is a Pokémon near by, the phone vibrates and I hear an alert sound in my earpiece. I also have 3 Pokémon Gyms, and 4 Poké Stops within a few blocks of my home. I'm definitely not lacking incentive to go for a walk around my home now.
Another cool feature of the game are the Pokémon eggs. The eggs have distance requirements to unlock them. I've collected eggs that require you to walk 2k, 5k, or 10k. Seeing what might hatch is a neat surprise, and you just walked several kilometers to hatch it (either over time, or you can try and unlock it all in one stroll).
As a working mom and Pokémon fan who never found the motivation to get outside and walk, Pokémon Go has changed my life. I developed hypertension, a little over a year ago, and take medication to regulate my blood pressure. My doctor has been trying to get me to be more active. Knowing that I walked 8 miles over the weekend proves that I can be active, and it doesn't have to feel like a chore.
I recently ordered a Garmin Vivofit 2 ($49 at Walmart) to keep better track of my progress, and to keep me motivated to walk more often. The game might seem dumb and pointless to some people, but it's getting people off the couch and outside. Some people suffering from depression or anxiety even mention how the game helped encourage them to leave their houses and go outside.
I'm trying not to get involved in the turf wars of Team Red, Blue, and Yellow. I can never level up fast enough to keep up with the Gym Leaders in my area anyway. Even without the battle aspect, I'm really having fun catching Pokémon.
So hopefully you all go outside, get some exercise, have fun, be smart about it, and stay aware of your surroundings.
Also check out my shirt design being sold at TeeFury, and wear it on your next Pokémon Go Adventure.