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Close-up of a hand holding a phone open to the Pokémon GO app in front of a blurred street

Pokémon Go: Getting Fit and Staying Safe

pokemon-1543353_1920You may have noticed a lot more people than usual walking around your neighborhood streets, faces glued to their phones.  For those not “in the know,” a new free-to-play mobile game craze, called Pokémon: Go, is sweeping the nation.  In fact, in the U.S. alone, it currently has over 7.5 million downloads!Based on a 90’s game, Pokémon: Go puts players in the role of a “trainer,” seeking to capture animated critters called “Pokémon.”  The game even uses your phone’s camera to make these creatures appear to be in the real world.  However, unlike the old version of the game, which didn’t involve much player activity, this game is all about movement!  The only way to find these little animals is to get up and walk around.A number of news outlets have reported on the sudden increase in physical activity among all age groups this game has caused, but while you’re trying to find the next rare Pokémon, it’s important to keep in mind that safety should be your number one priority.  The following are PHN’s tips to safely “catch ‘em all.” 

  • Remember to put on sunscreen if you’re out during the day. Sunburn is no fun. Wearing a hat or sunglasses may also be helpful.
  • Stay hydrated. Bring a bottle of water, or make sure there are enough sources of drinking water to use (like water fountains).
  • Watch for traffic. Not only is it important to look both ways before crossing the street, but staying on sidewalks helps to keep you safe.
  • Keep an eye on your surroundings. Don’t wander into unfamiliar areas. Also, don’t trespass on someone else’s property. No Pokémon is worth getting in trouble with the law. If you’re playing at night, bring a friend or two, and stick to well-lit, familiar areas.
  • If you’re wearing headphones, set the volume low enough that you can hear what’s happening around you.
  • Stop to catch your Pokémon. Since you need to focus on your phone to catch a Pokémon, stop and move out of the way of other pedestrians. Other less-aware players have walked into trees, and one even stumbled off a pier into a lake, just because they weren’t paying attention.
  • Don’t play while driving. Keep your eyes on the road, and play once you’re safely at your destination.

Keep all these tips in mind, and you can have fun, get fit, and stay safe.  Even PHN’s staff is seeing the positive results of this app.  Dr. George Garrow, PHN’s Chief Medical Officer, had the following to say:“Although I’ve not personally taken up Pokémon: Go, I can attest to seeing some very positive results from someone who took up the game earlier this summer.  She began to walk outside more than ever before, and has lost weight and improved her blood pressure control.”This game has been a huge success, growing in popularity day-by-day, so what are you waiting for?  Get up, get out, make some new friends, and catch some Pokémon!

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