Pokemon Go & Fitness

pokemon

Well hello Pokemon masters, I welcome you to the page of fitness and health, where we begin talking about the progress Pokemon has made to fitness and health and how it has evolved over the course of a month, how it has evolved into something much more powerful than any trainer has seen before. I welcome young and old, trainers and professors, fellow wild Pokemon and trained Pokemon in experiencing a life changing event that will soon blow your minds.  I thank all of you for stopping by, save all opinions, thoughts and feedback for after the show, I would greatly appreciate it. Please understand we do not want to startle any Pokemon and/or cause some kind of threat, so we will have no catching while reading this blog post, and no battling whatsoever, LOL. If you standby for after the show, we will have a battling tournament that will take place in the world of where dreams come true. 

The new app, the new fun way of meeting people, the new fad, the new game, the new outside experience, the new and improved Pokemon, the new way of staying active for youngsters and adults alike has hit all of our phones and tablets and we are sucking it down like juice. Why? because we are able to do the same thing were able to do prior to this game but now we have a “reason” to do it. The reason we have: New game that entertains us to stay active, what could we do before this game hit the market? stay fit, exercise, go for walks, meet new people.  All of these things were possible before but because we didn’t have a “reason”, we chose to not do it.  Funny how stuff like this works, right? We give a kid a game and if he loves it, he will play it, he will share it with friends, he will make it an obligation, he will talk about it, he will advertise it, he will bring it with him where ever he goes, he will soon depend on it, he will make into a social acceptance award, and he will not pay attention to the outside world because his focus is what Pokemon he will catch next and where he will find it and who all is playing with him. God forbid you asked him to walk the dog previous to this game, he would have much rather come up with an excuse… LOL because kids don’t like doing things they don’t want to do without reason for it (good reason that they feel is good enough). I don’t have kids, but this is what I have observed from some parents who have complained about the game. In all honesty we shouldn’t complain now, right? because everyone is staying active, being social and happy and we can finally connect on the same social level as others who enjoy Pokemon, it is almost like the world did a 360 when this app released. Not necessarily with crime but with health and fitness, we have researchers saying more of the population is getting outside and being productive, we have teens and adults saying it has helped with their anxiety, we have people saying it mentally stimulates them and now we have some parents praising the game because it has somehow brought the family closer in terms of spending quality time together.  Sounds like the nations problems have been solved, time for all of us to quit our worrying and sit back with a few margaritas and tell the news to find something else to talk about because we no longer have issues.  Not really. Now I will NOT be the one to sway you for or against this particular app because it really doesn’t matter if you play it or not, I could careless and I am not judging you because we all have childhood shows, toys, etc that we love, there is nothing wrong with it and having someone play Pokemon does not effect me whatsoever (yet).  I will make mention, I have not downloaded the app, so, no I have not played this game, although I did like Pokemon a bit growing up (pikachu being my favorite of course).  

This blog post isn’t about whether one should play Pokemon Go or not, it isn’t about making fun of adults who play and it isn’t about whether the accidents that have happened because of it, make it safe or not to play it.  Those are things we may hit on, but honestly the main focus of this blog post is whether this Pokemon Go app is any good for fitness and health for the long term as it has been for the short term and if people realize how easy it is to be fit when this game is no longer popular and hitting the ground running. I am a fitness and health blogger, I am not a video game blogger, so I am not going to analyze every aspect of the game because that isn’t my expertise, so please keep this in mind as we discuss this topic. Okay, so I am happy that people are getting outside more often and socializing (helping with their anxieties) and I am happy we are pushing for kids to stay active through using a game (kids love fun) and I am very happy families are being seen doing it together, BUT.. I am not happy that it took something like this to happen for people to want to be more productive and active and now I am wondering if once this game is no longer popular, if people will still find themselves outside more often, will people still find themselves capable of talking to someone (without the use of Pokemon being the reason) and will people be able to still spend the same amount of quality time with their families.  If all this game does “essentially” is get you out of bed, and walking to the nearest store to catch a Pokemon that is 3 miles down the road, then why is it so difficult to do that without the game? If what I am seeing on my Facebook is correct and people are spending night and day outside catching Pokemon on their days off, visiting new neighborhoods, going inside stores, taking walks at their local parks; then I suppose I wonder how this all couldn’t have been done before? Hmm. The thing is, it could have been done before but people didn’t have a reason to do it before, they didn’t want to do it before because their was no reward or benefit.  This scares me as a fitness and health professional because now I am realizing why some people choose to not stay healthy and be their own kind of “fit” and that is because they don’t see the reward and don’t see the benefit being worth it. When someone who plays the game can tell me “I walk 10 miles daily to catch Pokemon so I can level up or evolve and this helps me do better in battles” but the same person tells me “I wouldn’t normally walk 10 miles a day because I don’t have a reason to, there is no benefit of me walking that often a day other than me being exhausted..” but because this is a game, they find it worth it, BUT it seems they don’t find their health worth it. That is something to think about. 

Not everyone plays the game for the same reasons and not everyone who plays doesn’t attend a gym or exercise regularly or eat better.  I don’t believe everyone who plays is out of shape, obese, or poorly nourished, I believe we have people who use this game as a reason to exercise but as soon as the reason disappears so does their motivation to stay in a routine/exercise. That is my concern. We talked about people needing motivation and how starting is the hardest part, well when your motivation comes from extrinsic things, it becomes harder to keep that motivation burning inside of you. If you have intrinsic motivation, it comes from your own desires of wanting to fulfill something for own self, this is the type of motivation people need to have if they plan on carrying on in this productive lifestyle they have created for themselves while playing this game. If this game was your gateway to a healthier journey/lifestyle; that is perfectly okay! this was your way of getting started, but now we need to figure out how to keep you on the same path when you decide to quit playing the game because if you don’t find a reason for you after this game is long gone, you will be back at square one waiting for the next opportunity.  When it comes to children/teens going out and playing it and staying active, this is important for them to do.. they need their exercise as much as some of us adults sometimes and they need to keep their minds jogging as well! this is good for them, but kids grow bored and tired of repetition sometimes; so they are constantly looking for the next big thing, the next fun opportunity and the next socially accepted idea.  This means when this game’s thunder runs low and your child is giving up on wanting to play with the neighbor kids or wanting to stay inside playing the Xbox versus riding their bike or if your child would much rather not walk the dog or take out the trash anymore, you will need to come up with something to get them motivated! <— remember this word.   

If we embark on the mental side of things (anxieties) then we have to think about how one would find the same confidence they had when playing the game when the game no longer becomes of interest.  I have social anxiety, and sometimes it is worse than others depending on the situation, since I don’t use this app, I am having to cope with it the old fashion way (on my own) with nothing to distract me from thinking about worse case scenario. Playing this game is helping people with their anxieties because it takes their minds off of the worse case scenario and focuses their attention on finding Pokemon and battling people, it is like a mask that mask their inner fears. Not saying it works for everyone, and to be honest I am not sure if it would work for me.. my fear with this coping strategy for people is: when it is done, you will have to find a new way of coping and everything that once bothered you will start all over again.  The other side of that is, you could end up feeling more confident and no longer need to cope, but now you are living with less fear and you have minimal anxiety <— this would be the optimal outcome! Mental health is just as important, if not more important than physical health for no other reason than it can determine how you live your life (for better or for worse). I am hoping this gives some people something to think about, opens up room for discussion and gives you an idea on my opinion of this game.  I hope that people who choose to play this game think about the long term and play it safely.   Thank you for taking time to read this lengthy post and I am looking forward to hearing from all of you! 

Your fitness blogger,

Shay-lon xoxo

P.S the majority of my thoughts were my opinion, some of which you may agree and others of which you may disagree and that is perfectly okay! 

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