Get Fit with Pokemon GO!

This is a post from Master of the Fitness Universe, Jim.

So what exactly is this hype about catching ’em all?

I don’t know about you, but walking to work, around my neighborhood, or running errands doesn’t elicit much excitement. Pokémon Go has turned walking around our communities into a half scavenger hunt, half RPG game that is incredibly engaging.

In less than a week, Pokémon Go has become the number one mobile game with over 7 million downloads (you can download it for your iPhone or Droid).

Players use their phones to hunt and search for digital creatures (Pokémon). The rub is that you actually have to physically get out and walk around to find these creatures. Think of it like virtual birdwatching, and you’re halfway there. Whereas most video games keep us inside and sedentary, Pokémon Go integrates a physical and social dynamic.

Just trying to find all the different Pokémon in the game will take you quite some time (there are 151), and players are rewarded for exploring new areas of their town or city, as different Pokémon appear in different locations.

It’s this sense of exploration and wonder that has caught (pun intended) a lot of people’s interest. Don’t scoff at this game because you think it’s for kids – we could all use a little more child-like fun, activity, and imagination in our lives.

Pokémon Go is a great reminder that exercise can be enjoyable and automatic, fueled by fun instead of by that nagging feeling in our heads.

Pokemon Go: How can it help me get healthy?

Bulba

Walking is one of the best things we can do for ourselves: it’s been shown in countless studies that extra walking (5,000 – 10,000 steps/day) can improve mood and body composition, as well as lower anxiety. And Pokémon Go has the impetus to get out and get walking built right into the game play.

That grocery store on the corner or the community center down the street? Those aren’t just buildings: Now they’re refueling stops (Poké Stops) with sick l00t on the quest to catch em all. Each Poké Stop has a brief refresh period before you can use it again, so it pays to walk around and hit up as many as you can find!

More than that, you hatch the eggs you find at Poké Stops into Pokémon by… wait for it… walking! The more walking required to hatch the egg, the rarer the Pokémon.

For some, the game itself will be motivation enough to get out and about. But how can you use the game to level up your day outside even further?

Pack a healthy lunch and walk to a park. A new park that’s farther away? Even better! (Maybe you’ll find rarer Pokémon!)

Try walking around the mall, instead of shopping online. (Hint: Malls tend to be loaded with Pokémon)

Take that dog of yours for a longer walk. Your dog wins AND your Pokémon army wins.

If you walk a lot in your town/city, take a longer route to work/gym. Or park further away and walk extra steps to hatch yourself a new Pokémon!

FINALLY exercise on your lunch break: take a walk after you’ve finished eating. Or take that walk after dinner.

Or explore historical landmarks (Poké Stops tend to correspond with statues, monuments, and points of interest.)

Warning: Don’t use Pokémon Go as an excuse to walk to get ice cream. Reward yourself with things that reward you back (like new running/walking shoes). We want to be careful not to integrate the game into our existing habits, but to use it as a means to build a healthier life.

Pokémon Go is easy and fun to work into a day exploring your city or hanging in the park, but you can also integrate your Pokémon training with some more advanced physical training!

The Pokemon Go Workout!

Spend some time walking and hatching eggs, and when you’re ready to take things up a notch, try the Pokémon Go Workout!

Are you ready?

Do the number of reps of the exercises below, equal to your trainer level. As you level up and your trainer level increases, you’ll need to do more and more reps of each exercise.

But what are you doing reps of?

  • Catch a Pokémon that flies? Or could fly? Do jumping jacks like a creature flapping its wings (okay, you can do normal jumping jacks)
  • Catch a Pokémon that doesn’t fly? Do squats or burpees, a classic ground-based exercise.
  • Catch a Pokémon that looks like a bug? Do lunges like a bug moving its legs.

Bonus exercises:

  • If you catch a Pokémon around anything that you could safely do a chin-up from (playground equipment, most likely), then do chin-ups or jumping chin-ups!
  • Still can’t get enough? Every time a Pokémon runs away, sprint to the corner (or another close, nearby landmark).
  • Egg just hatch? Sit at the bottom of a squat for 30 seconds or more (like you’re hatching an egg!).

I Pika-choose you

mysticpokeball

Some of you might find yourself saying, “I don’t have kids to take around or friends who are interested in this stuff, what do I do?” We all know workout buddies can add accountability to any exercise routine. And we also know A LOT of people are playing this now.

I was at a concert this week and the employee at Will Call had his phone lying on the table with Pokémon Go running. A natural conversation started on what Pokémon were running around the area, and he clued me in as to where nearby Poké Stops were. A game that gets you moving around and helps to overcome some social anxiety? Awesome. Here are some other great stories from the Rebellion:

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Don’t want to brave out into the wilderness to meet people without a fan? Check out the Nerd Fitness Pokémon Go group. There are also a TON of local Pokémon Go groups popping up on Facebook, Meetup, and other social media hubs. Find one in your area and get out there!

PokeHacks: Master Pokemon Go

 

pokemon_dog

With Pokémon Go being a brand new game, we’ve assembled some pro-tips to arm you with the knowledge you need to become a master trainer in no time.

If you’re totally new, be sure to open up your game menu and in the upper right click on “tips”. It will give you a quick tutorial on important game elements!

Here are our starter tips and tricks. (We’ve also put together a more complete Pokémon Go page to act as a community glossary/wiki of all things Pokémon Go. Have something that should be added? Let us know in the comments!)

Tracking Pokémon: Use the radar in the lower right to find Pokémon in the area. Keep the radar open and if the Pokémon you’re tracking moves to the left or up on the grid, that means you’re getting closer!

Finding Pokémon hot spots: Pokémon tend to congregate around high traffic areas (malls, bus stops, restaurants) as well as points of interests (statues, parks).

Throwing Technique, Bonuses, and Power Ups: For less immersiveness but a slight in-game advantage, turn off your AR (switch in upper right corner) when throwing Pokéballs. It helps center the Pokémon on your screen better. Some gamers also find throwing a Pokéball with their index finger instead of their thumb to be more accurate.

Curveball bonus: We’ve tried a lot of these techniques and found a tenuous connection at best. At just an additional 10 XP, I wouldn’t worry about chasing after this bonus.

Nice, Great, and Excellent Throw Bonus: At an extra 10, 50, and 100 XP bonus respectively, these are the ones to go after! Hold the Pokéball and watch for a shrinking colored circle. Hit that circle with your Pokéball! The smaller the circle, the bigger the bonus!

Power Ups: If your Pokémon keep escaping, use razz berries or more powerful Pokéballs. Both become available when your character reaches higher levels.

Transfer Pokémon back to the Professor: Have a lot of repeat Pokémon? “Transfer” them back to get an item called candy, which you can use to power up or evolve the stronger Pokémon.

Powering Up vs. Evolving. What should I do? Generally, you’ll want to evolve your Pokémon first, as they get an enormous, permanent boost in strength. After you evolve them, you can decide if you want to power them up further.

Looking to level up FAST? A lucky egg doubles your experience bonus from all actions for 30 minutes. You can make the most of that valuable 30 minutes by combining the following actions:

Save up all your candies for a few days beforehand. Make sure you transfer the weaker Pokémon in for candies, but save enough that you can evolve them. (If you have 36 Pidgey candies, keep your 3 highest Pidgeys to evolve).
Park yourself at a Poké Stop and drop a lure on it (lasts 30 minutes). Or you can find one someone else has used (the Poké Stop will be spouting a pink-purple confetti).
Pop one of your incense (lasts 30 minutes)
Pop your lucky egg (lasts 30 minutes)
Start using all those saved candies to evolve your Pokémon. You’ll double your EXP bonus to +2000 for a Pokémon you didn’t have before and to +1000 for one you already had.

Your catch bonus will also be doubled, and you should be reeling ‘em in quickly thanks to the lure and incense. Now spend the next 30 minutes catching swarms of Pokémon and frantically evolving everything you can. You can easily jump up 2-3 levels and become the very best that no one ever was.

Should I buy anything from the store? We think incubators are your best bet: the more incubators you have, the more benefit you get when you walk around. Fun incentives to get moving? Win!

Time of day makes a difference: Did you know that some different Pokémon can come out at night! Stay safe though!

Saving your battery: Turn on the battery saver function in the game’s settings menu! The phone dims when turned upside-down. For those of you who aren’t messing around, consider a portable charger!

Game frozen? Let it go.When in doubt, force stop the game and restart it.

Gyms and Battles: There is no inherent advantage to any team color, pick whichever one you want. When training or battling at a gym, pick your Pokémon based on the other Pokémon weaknesses. Refer to this handy chart.

All who wander are . . . probably playing Pokemon Go

pokeball

Maybe you’re ready to jump into the craze that is Pokémon Go. Even if you’re not, I hope we rekindled some sense of curiosity and imagination in you… that exercise doesn’t have to be a chore, but it can be a pleasant side effect of just getting out and having fun.

We certainly hope to see more of this with video games in the future. Wouldn’t you rather get outside and play a game, instead of staying inside and pounding away on a treadmill? And sure, Pokémon Go might not replace your current workout regimen anytime soon, but it can be an excellent (and fun!) addition. Getting in more steps everyday is always recommended for improved physical health, and keeping a sense of kid-like wonder is sure to improve your mental health too.

Do you have any tips that we can add to our page on Pokémon Go? Let us know in the comments!

Happy Hunting!

-Jim

P.S. From Steve: I’m in the UK and doing last minute NF Rebel meet ups in Scotland and London THIS WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY. Sign up on Facebook for Scotland and London and get the details as they get finalized. Hope to see you there!

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  • EngineeredGains

    You beat me to it! I was planning to write a post about pokemon go this Wednesday! I spent the weekend out and about and had a great time! One thing I found interesting is the vast diversity of Go players. I live in a college town and taking a run to the popular park I met college, high school and middle school kids, Parents playing with their kids or just pushing their babies in strollers, Men, Women, some more fit other not as fit. Literally everyone is out and about and Its great! The community is amazing and just keeps growing every day! If you don’t have someone to play with going out alone and meeting people is extremely easy!

    I walked 22km this weekend and didn’t even realize it. The game is very addicting and urges you to keep going. I on my way home and ended up walking another 90 minutes trying to track down a Blastiose that popped up near me (unfortunately the servers crashed right when I found him!!!) I was out alone but ended up having a troupe of about 10 people running around everywhere trying to find this rare pokemon!

  • Blake Cauthen

    Trying to organize am “marathon”. 26 miles of pokestops, gyms, and Pokémon used in conjunction with a charitable donation pedometer. Hatching eggs and donating money in the same footsteps. Good response so far in Rome, Ga.

  • Røxy

    Just an FYI, the tracking seems to be glitched at the moment (please comment and let me know if this has been fixed tho! been out all weekend for me and folks I know), so if that tip doesn’t work that’s why!

  • torie k

    While I appreciate the idea behind Pokemon GO and I like the exercise application of the app in this article… I DO want to bring up something that is often forgotten, especially in this forum: not all people have the luxury of utilising and playing Pokemon GO. That is to say, it is dangerous for people of colour (POC) to be walking around merely because they have an extremely disproportionate chance of having the police called on them (and also to be killed without cause) for “suspicious activity” aka for merely being a POC in a predominantly white area. This is something we shouldn’t ignore just because we see through white privilege lenses. I’m not saying give it up, but PLEASE realise that this is a luxury in which some people do not get to partake.

    This article gives you an idea of what walking in a POC’s shoes might look like while playing: https://medium.com/mobile-lifestyle/warning-pokemon-go-is-a-death-sentence-if-you-are-a-black-man-acacb4bdae7f#.6puqv6sbd

  • Mark D

    If you Pokemon in an area where there are roads, for the love of all that’s Holy PLEASE watch where you’re walking. I can’t tell you, in the days before Pokemon Go, how many times I had to hit the brakes because a kid (or even an adult) stepped into the street while more intent on his text/music/game than on either the color of the street light or the presence of oncoming traffic.

    I once saw a grown man in downtown Brooklyn, NY so intent upon his phone that he stepped into the street in front of an ambulance, which had both lights and sirens running. Thankfully (for him, the ambulance crew, and the patient they were transporting or were on the way to) they missed him, thru no fault of his. Again, this was before Pokemon Go was a thing.

  • Fred J

    I’m as nerdy as the next nerd, but I guess I’m old, how about just enjoying being outside? Leave the phone alone for a few minutes. See how many different kinds of birds you can identify. I’ve seen fox, turkey, deer, but I don’t live in the big city either… just my 2 cents.

    ps stay off my lawn 😉

  • bonilloa

    I love it!

  • bonilloa

    Great point.

  • bonilloa

    It’s fine but a bit sad seeing another gimmick for keeping us from interacting with the world itself rather than thru a phone

  • Anoncry0

    This app took me from bragging about averaging 4miles on my walks to chasing 10 miles. One thing you have wrong: curveball are important. As you level up your trainer level, catching a 250cp pokemon with a standard pokemon almost hinges on it and higher level pokemon after you hit level 10 the poke all will curve away from them automatically if you don’t throw a curve ball.

    It’s important. Start from the beginning ALWAYS THROW A CURVE Ball. You want it mastered before you waste countless balls and opportunities on pokemon with the ball flying away like a gust of wind took it.

  • Alex Gray

    That article is dramatic nonsense. He might as well be worried about getting hit by a meteor or getting struck by lightning. I’m black and when I’m playing I don’t waste time worrying about the extremely unlikely chance of getting shot by a cop, I’m too busy enjoying the game.

    I’m all for spreading awareness on racial issues but this guy is just being silly. Check out this post from a person of color who’s had a positive experience with pokemon go

    https://www.reddit.com/r/pokemongo/comments/4t4yt6/because_of_this_game_for_the_first_time_in_a_long/

  • AlekHartzog

    Good point on practicing curveballs, but many beginners will still want to go straight ball for a while. We will address the high-level pokemon ball deflection in our tips and tricks page:

    https://www.nerdfitness.com/pokemon-go-tips-and-tricks/

  • AlekHartzog

    Cool idea!

  • Jim Bathurst

    Good point on mastering a curveball, the tips was in regards to trying to chase after the bonus points associated with them. I’ve heard a ton of different “techniques” for getting a curveball bonus, but they don’t seem to work!

    We’ll keep updating the PGo wiki page that Alek has linked to below as everyone here at NF develops into awesome trainers! (Baker is killing it)

  • Jim Bathurst

    The zero, one, and two footprints seem to have disappeared from the radar for now, but I still think the placement of the Pokemon on your radar (upper left being the closest) can help you find nearby ones for now.

  • Mark D

    If you’ve on my property late at night I will challenge you and ask you why you’re there. If you tell me you’re looking for a Pokemon I will tell you you’re on private property and you’re trespassing so please leave. Now.

    If getting your Pokemon is that important to you, bad things may happen to you.

  • Jesse

    Great article and tips, but I think you may be mistaken about the compass for tracking: As near as I can tell, tapping the compass just switches between pointing the camera North and whichever direction your phone is facing. I tried it with multiple pokemon in my “nearby” grid, and unless they all happen to be in the same direction, tapping the compass didn’t help.

  • Tony Langdon

    I haven’t got into Pokemon Go yet, but from all the things I’ve read, I like the concept. My main reason for not getting into it is my training routine is already well defied and biased towards shorter sprint work (i.e. what I race).

    However, I am fascinated by the concept. I also have a lot of contact with people who might not consider exercise “their thing” (including a lifetime of avoidance), but for whom Pokemon Go might capture their interest and get them active without them seeing it as “exercise”.

    In fact, I might go and download it now, just to check it out and get a better feel for the concept.

  • Jim Bathurst

    Yeah, that was a mistaken tip. Removed from the article!

  • Juan

    That would be great to do, but PokeGo is not available where i’am. Sad poke trainer is sad 🙁

  • Røxy

    That’s true, I know that their placement is still accurate – for the most part. Yesterday while hunting I was constantly having to close and reopen my app because the radar would freeze. After I closed it each time the lineup would be completely different. Le sigh. Just something to be mindful of!

  • Ennui

    I play it at the gym (3 pokestops and a poke gym), but I’m not about to walk around in the 95 degree heat this summer. During the fall I will catch them all.

  • Ennui

    I’m black and play it. Being white doesn’t mean that you’re exempt from harassment/being robbed/followed while playing the game especially if you’re a woman. I’ve never seen a cop while playing Pokémon and I doubt that they care about a girl staring at her phone on the sidewalk.

  • Sarah Rose

    You don’t have to worry about people going on your property… Pokemon don’t appear at people’s houses! And even if a Pokestop or gym is a church or other private establishment, there’s a wide enough radius provided around you where they can be activated that you can be located on the sidewalk outside, or even on the road if driving. I usually go to my local park Pokestop during my nightly walk, but it gets activated merely by me standing on the sidewalk next to it.

  • Christina

    I hope this doesn’t mean that you are driving and playing games on your phone. Please, anyone, resist the temptation, don’t do it!

  • Obitim

    While I’m not hugely into Pokemon, I did think of the comic when I read your article Steve:
    http://www.dorkly.com/post/79597/the-hidden-truth-behind-pokemon-go

    Also, In the UK but no love for Leeds? I hope you enjoyed yourself over here though!

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  • Christina

    I was getting frustrated with the tracking not working…then I found pokevision. Best running motivation! Find a Pokemon you’re interested in catching & check out the countdown time until it disappears, run to it, catch it, repeat! It’s rewarding & doesn’t even feel like a workout but gets you running & it’s kinda (informal) interval style. I hope pokevision doesn’t disappear if/when they fix the tracking bug because this is an excellent running plan for me!

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  • macazootie

    No cheating! For ARG games like PoGo, you are playing real people you’re likely to encounter face-to-face, so the honor code rules supreme. Especially when it comes to cheats like location spoofing. That is not only strictly verboten, but it also defeats the ultimate purpose of the game, to get your arse outside!

  • macazootie

    Since Pokémon Go has lost some of it’s luster now, is there an Ingress group on NF? You know, Niantic’s original ARG & predecessor to PoGo? Anyone playing PoGo has Ingress to thank for laying the groundwork for PoGo, since that’s where all the original Pokéstop & Gym locations came from. Not that I dislike Pokémon, and it’s lovely nerdiness, but Ingress (https://www.ingress.com/) has more staying power, since there’s actual strategy & teamwork involved, and it’s multi-faceted. The in-game missions have had me walk well over ten miles (slightly more than 10,000 steps) in a day several times, events get me traveling to new places & learning about their unique histories. Last anomaly (their big events) we did a bike team & pedaled all over San Diego for our team, the Enlightened. They’ve even incorporated GoRuck (http://www.goruck.com/), which I’m keen on stepping up for this year, since I’ve been getting back in shape. Just because one of the two teams is called the Resistance, don’t be fooled, the Enlightened have all the fun 😉 (/ShamelessIngressPlug)

    Ingress/PoGo overlap tip: where you see XM, the in-game energy produced in Ingress from cell activity (not the XM produced from portals), is where you’ll see lots of random Pokémon spawn.