As of the past two weeks, the newest app taking the world by storm has captured everyone’s attention and inner 90’s child. I’m talking about Pokemon Go. It has taken the series to a whole new level incorporating reality with fiction through use of GPS. It truly defines innovation as the world bolts from their computers to the outside world in search of Pokemon and other trainers.
Now, I’m not here to push the new app (although my inner 90’s self is ecstatic and loves the idea of Poke dates) but instead provide insight as to how the app has meshed with the health and fitness industry. I’ve read some bad publicity lately about the dangers of using the app. People not paying attention or trespassing on property are definitely a concern. On the other hand, the app is merely a piece of technology pointing out via GPS where certain Pokemon are lurking. It is up to the player to judge whether it’s safe (and legal) to go after it or simply move along. It cannot be blamed as it is nothing but fiction. Before I move on, I simply ask those reading to play safe and enjoy responsibly. You can always say no or ignore your phone. Don’t point fingers at an app to take blame for poor judgments. It doesn’t care.
Now, on to the positive. Pokemon Go has done something that professionals in the health and fitness industry have been trying to accomplish for years. Get people moving and having fun doing it! We’ve succeeded in many ways, but the creators of Pokemon Go knocked it out of the park. Instead of some boring video game where you do push ups on a pad, you are now thrown into a world wide scavenger hunt to capture make believe characters. You must physically get up, go outside and travel to participate. What’s more is that certain items are only achieved or “hatched” by walking a certain amount of kilometers. The incentive to exercise and get moving is perfectly embedded into the game and hidden so as to not break the “coolness” factor. It’s a perfect harmony.
As an exercise professional, this is beyond genius. The app is fun, global, never ending and has a history strong enough to keep it interesting for a very long time. Combine that with the hidden fitness aspect, you have something that will benefit society more so than just pleasure. This app will improve lives. The number of people walking have doubled correlating to a significant decrease in heart related diseases. The activity levels of at risk individuals are now improving to a point where benefits are noticeable and significant. It is truly incredible the potential for not only the Pokemon franchise (Nintendo) but the health of obese and at risk individuals.
I would recommend anyone in the fitness industry to take advantage of the app and become creative. If a client is struggling to find motive to get moving, maybe ask them to go catch Pokemon with you. They might become engaged and actually enjoy the fun aspect of scavenger hunting. If they are already a fan of the series, why not make workouts with a Poke theme? Charmander’s leg burning workout, Pikachu’s electrifying ab circuit or something alone those lines. The possibilities are immense considering the popularity of the game. I suggest you take advantage of it and utilize Pokemon Go as another tool for training. You’d feel better catching a Snorlax instead of acting like one.