My Thoughts on Pokemon Go

I've been playing the game for a few weeks now, and I can say a couple of things about it that have been undeniable in my experience:

(1) Yes, it is addicting.
(2) It's an extremely social activity.
(3) It's sent me outside almost every single day.
(4) It's encouraged me to walk when I otherwise wouldn't have.

Since the game came out I've seen an absolutely huge influx of posts and opinions about it. For the most part, my personal newsfeed is made up of people playing the game and advocating for it. However, there have been a few people who have posted derogatory content on the topic, and I just can't help but wonder why...

As a fitness professional.

As a fitness professional.

This game has filled my spare time with both something fun to do and friends to do it with. I've even made NEW friends, thanks to this game, that I never would have met otherwise. And, not only is Pokemon Go giving me a fun and social way to spend my time, but it's taking me outside and getting me to move around while I do it.

For those of you unfamiliar with the game, the walking/running/biking is dominantly promoted by (1) visiting the Pokestops which are usually placed at some kind of landmark that is easiest to get out of your car and walk to, especially when there is a particularly Pokestop-dense area, and (2) hatching your eggs which requires a certain amount of distance covered (2, 5, or 10 km) in order to for the egg to hatch. There are also some apps you can use that help find nearby Pokemon, and while getting to them sometimes demands driving because of time restraints, you could walk/bike/run if not.

Now, in this Texas heat, there is just no way I would've been out and about otherwise. Maybe that's my own problem, but you know what? There are plenty of other people like me who would have also stayed indoors but instead are getting extra physical activity all thanks to this "stupid game." As a fitness professional, I just can't naysay on that.

Now, with all the positives covered, I will also address two of the more negative things I've seen:

(1) Again, the addictive factor.
(2) The tendency to get stuck to your phone screen.

I've played alone a couple of times by myself, and I've found that I MUCH prefer to play with other people. When I'm alone I find myself barely looking up from my phone screen. This, again, is my own problem, and it's easily solved by making an active effort to look up and take in my surroundings every once in a while. I found the best way to do this, for me at least, is to strike up conversation with the people around me... which is usually pretty easy considering we're all playing Pokemon Go!

But, I can see how this might be unattractive from an outside perspective. We spend so much time glued to LED screens already, why would we want to extend that trend even further? And, I can't really argue with that other than to say, hey, at least people are in a more active and social setting with this game than they would be playing most other video games. And, if you're anything like me, you try to combat this tendency as much as possible when you're playing. Look up every once in a while and enjoy the places the game has taken you! Sometimes they're pretty cool. (Here are some of the neat spots in Austin I've been thanks to Pokemon Go: the Arboretum, downtown Round Rock, Auditorium Shores, and the UT campus just to name a few.)

And lastly, the addictive measure... People getting hit by cars not paying attention to the road, people driving while playing the game, people turning down jobs because there are no Pokestops nearby... These are all actual stories I've heard regarding the game, and while I cannot disagree that they are completely ridiculous, these behaviors are a reflection of the person playing the game rather than the game itself.

Niantic made an incredibly fun (albeit glitchy) game that took the world by storm - more so than I think they even expected! But HOW someone decides to play that game is no one's responsibility other than that person. Be sure you know who you're blaming before you try to suck the fun out of something otherwise so positive.