It’s a craze that’s sweeping the world, and now it has made its way onto our own streets.
Pokémon GO was launched in the Philippines just last week. The Google Maps-based game lets you play the role of Pokémon trainer using your smartphone, where you can explore around your house, your neighborhood, your office, or even during your daily commute (though we don’t recommend you play while driving) in search of cool and exciting Pokémon.
Those who were never in on the Poké-craze might find the whole thing a bit too much, especially with all the posts flooding your newsfeeds and the pictures of hunched-over Pokémon nuts gathering all over the world. For a lot of '90s kids though, it’s a chance to live out their childhood fantasies by becoming real-life Pokémon trainers.
Fortunately, there are actually a few health benefits to wanting to be the very best, like no one ever was!
‘Pare, may Charizard daw dito?’
Long-time Pokémon fans will remember the story of the anime series: 10-year-old Ash Ketchum leaves his hometown to embark on his quest to be the very best. With his loyal Pikachu at his side, his journey takes him far and wide to many exciting adventures. Along the way, he battles with other trainers to improve his skills and earn badges from Pokémon gyms. Ash even befriends a few of these trainers and convinces them to join him on his quest.
With Pokémon GO, your journey can also help you to make some new friends like Ash did. Once you reach Level 5, you can train your Pokémon by duking it out at Pokémon gyms and you also join virtual teams with other trainers.
The game is a neat way to meet new people while improving your health: a US paper suggests that the right amounts of social interaction can help both your mental and physical health. Netizens worldwide have also shared stories about how the game’s social aspects have helped them to overcome their mental health issues.
Sure, you guys might look a bit funny hunched-over your phones at your local park or at the mall, but at least you’ll have something to talk about with your new Poké-pares!
A journey with lots of steps
If you’re lucky, you’ll catch some cool Pokémon in and around your local haunts. If you want to keep growing your collection though, you’ll eventually have to step out and explore other places near and far. Strap on your newest running kicks because this means you’ll be doing lots and lots of walking.
You can make Pokémon GO part of your exercise routine: You can go for scheduled walks to explore your neighborhood, or you can drive out to different parks and locales and go for a walk/Pokémon hunt. You can even make an interval workout out of it, where you can run to the nearest Pokéstop or Pokémon gym and walk/recover when you get there and explore.
Considering that the Food and Nutrition Research Institute counts over 30 percent of Filipino adults to be overweight or obese, it doesn’t hurt to have a hobby that gets you moving while you’re having fun. Just make sure to look up from your phone and always be aware of your surroundings. Your safety is way more important than playing patintero on a busy street just to catch a Geodude.
The good kind of Vitamin D
You’ll find that some Pokémon are placed strategically: for example, water-type Pokémon are often hiding around rivers and lakes. Other places you’ll find Pokémon include parks, landmarks, monuments, and other outdoor spots. (Tip: look for spots where two or more people are walking around in circles while looking at their phones). This means that you’ll be getting down and dirty with lots of Vitamin D (from the sun) penetrating your pores.
The added sun exposure from your Pokémon quest is good news for you: a US study finds that sensible amounts of Vitamin D from the sun will help reduce your risk of certain chronic diseases and it can even help prevent some forms of cancer.
The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development recommends getting around 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure a day. If you’re going out to get some Vitamin D though, just make sure you use protection: slop on some sunscreen, slap on a hat, and drink lots of water.
So what are you waiting for? Strap on your red cap, get moving, and start your Pokémon journey and your quest for better health. Like the theme song says, you know it’s your destiny!