I would like to share a story of my activities last night but first let me start with:
Pokémon Go is raging world-wide, with the ton of good stories that are coming out of it, and like any new craze, so bad too. However I’d like to focus on one aspect that should be getting more attention than it is, and that is the health aspect to the game. We’re going to assume that you have some working knowledge of the game, and if you don’t – jump into it, there’s a lot more to it than you might think.
Now – ‘Go players can come across “eggs” at random Pokestops and the way to hatch these is to walk around. Literally. You can’t cheat the mechanism and drive, there is a speed threshold after which the game stops counting your distance. Interestingly you can cruise pushbike (slow) or skateboard and it still seems to work (at least for me). Now 95% of players are not trying to cheat this mechanic and are actually hatching their eggs through the standard walking technique. What is amazing about this – is it is giving users a REASON to get out and walk.
So – that all said, last night after work and a quick gym session I headed down to the beach to grab some dinner. It was a beautiful clear night, quite warm for being in the tail-end of winter and like a LOT of other people, using the opportunity to stock up on pokeballs and catch some pokemon.
Now as a was sitting and watching the waves, lots of groups of people were coming past (there are a lot of pokestops where I was plonked down) and this one couple was coming past about every 10 mins or so. On a hunch I waited until the next time they appeared and approached to say hello. It turns out Dave and Michelle (not their real names) had worked out a route whereby they could walk past 7 pokestops in a large loop (about 1.2km), and by the time they had gotten back, the first one had reset and could be accessed again. Now bear in mind that I had already seen them go past 3 times. I then proceeded to join them for 2 laps myself to see how it worked – and work it did. So here’s the other great aspect about the game – I completely approached two random strangers and immediately had a conversation point with them. They were fascinating people as well and heartily welcomed my joining them as they walked. Obviously starting with pokemon as the talking conversation we branched into travel, art, what they did for a living and then touched on fitness.
Dave and Michelle had struggled with the traditional concept of “go to the gym and do weights or run on the treadmill” and were not comfortable to do GROUP Fitness classes yet (though they both mentioned they were keen to – it helping that I am a group fitness instructor and could explain how much fun and welcoming the whole community is). What they had agreed with each other was to walk every morning and evening in different spots playing Pokémon Go. This is something I hadn’t really considered. Yes, you rack up kms just walking to hatch the eggs, but these two people were actively using it as benchmark for their exercise. **Side-note – the eggs come in 2km, 5km, and 10km varieties for you to hatch. Finishing my conversation and laps with them yielded a 2km egg of my own to hatch and both of them hatching 10km eggs from combining a 5km walk that morning with 5 laps that evening (giving them an ONYX! Sweet). As we were saying farewell I asked them if they per chance were keeping track of any results – they had both lost 5 kgs since the game had started (2-3 weeks ago) by following their walk regime and also putting a little effort into trying to eat cleaner. They also kept it interesting by changing their routes all the time, though the beach one is their favourite.
Now folks – from a fitness point of view, 2-3 weeks to lose 5kgs is quite good. To do it whilst playing a thoroughly engaging game, and doing it with your partner? AWESOME. There have been so many attempts to achieve this by other brands, myfit, fitbit etc and Nintendo pull it off by “accident”. In all honesty, im sure there’s bee
n lots of pre-thought into this and we here at A.I.P have been following all the rumours for the wearables that may be coming out and tracking things like fitness metrics. Regardless – I was super impressed by the story of Dave and Michelle and by the time I had returned to my car, had racked up 6km on my own too – after a High Intensity Gym workout – when all I had planned to do really was go have some dinner and watch the waves.
This is one positive to come out of this craze and I haven’t even begun to touch on the social benefits (such a great way to meet people). If you haven’t given this a go yet, grab a friend, download the game ITS FREE, and give it a spin.
Always look for the positives – Cheers Crew. Pete.
Assume Its Possible.