“Pokémon gotta catch em all it’s you and me. I know it’s my destiny. Pokémon, oh you are my best friend, in a world we must defend …”
— Pokémon theme song
Back when the twins were in elementary school, Pokémon were all the rage. In case you have never made their acquaintance, here is the skinny: Pokémon are mythical creatures that first appeared in Nintendo games in the mid- 1990s. The premise was that they were “caught” by humans and trained to battle each other for sport. The most popular duo was Ash Ketchum and his Pokémon, Pikachu. My girls had video games, books, stuffed animals, trading cards and movies. It was overwhelming. I had hoped to never see the little critters or hear the annoying theme song ever again. But to quote the little girl in “Poltergeist,” “They’re back!”
Pokémon Go is the latest reincarnation of the series as a phone app that promotes my favorite subject, fitness. Just released in July, it has swept the country and is all the rage here in Robeson Countyl. Here is how it works:You download the free app to your smart phone and create and name your Pokémon chasing character. (I am Catmama22). The game ties into your phone GPS and maps out wherever you are. As you walk, run or bike through an area the Pokémon appear on your screen. Using your Pokeballs, you capture and collect them. To add to the fun there are places in every city designated as Pokestops or Pokegyms. At the Pokestops, you can collect more balls and other items needed to hunt the Pokémon. Once you get your Pokémon “evolved” and powered up to a high level, you can head to a Pokegym and battle. How cool is that? I am totally hooked. I catch them walking back and forth to meetings, riding my bike, grocery shopping, and even drag myself out in the evening after CrossFit and supper to walk around and catch some more. I was in Charleston a few weeks ago and found a rare water Pokémon called a Horsea while on a dinner cruise.
Besides the hunting, the game designers built in even more physical activity by adding a feature that includes collecting Pokémon eggs. The eggs then can be hatched based on kilometers walked. The more rare the Pokémon inside the egg the farther you have to walk to get it hatched. The more common ones require anywhere from two to three miles of walking while the rarest require six miles. In order to prevent folks from jumping in their car to speed up the process, the folks at Nintendo programmed the game to allow no more than 2 mph speed to count in the egg-hatching portion of the game. Here are some tips to make your Pokémon hunting successful, safe, fun and fitness oriented:
— Use the buddy system: As with any fitness activity outdoors, it is better to have a buddy for safety purposes. You can keep each other out of traffic and on the trail of Pikachu.
— Walk, bike or run, but don’t drive: While the Pokémon Go app does work in the car, it is a bad idea. Just like texting, hunting Pokémon is a huge distraction and dangerous. It also defeats the purpose of getting out and moving.
— Keep your phone on vibrate: To avoid walking into a tree or worse into traffic, don’t bury your face in your phone to hunt. If you leave your phone on vibrate it will notify you when Pokémon are near.
— Hunt near downtown areas: Most of the Pokémon action (Pokestops and Pokegyms) are located in metropolitan areas. Parks, historical monuments as well as businesses are great places to find them.
— Be respectful of others property: Sometimes a Pokémon will pop up in someone’s yard. Before you go running, make sure you are not trampling flowerbeds or infringing on your neighbors.
Now that you have the 411 on Pokémon hunting, why not give it a try? It is free, fun and will get you out and moving. Chances are your kids will not be too embarrassed.
Kathy Hansen has over 25 years in the health and fitness field and is very grateful for her CrossFit workouts. She can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.