Video games have been loosely considered a sport for years. The popularity of fitness gaming has been on the rise over the last decade with systems like the Wii, Xbox Kinect and PlayStation Move. With its competitive nature and with its recent blend of fitness games, it makes them something we love to talk about.

Last week Nintendo released its next blockbuster fitness game, this time on smart phones and GPS-enabled tablets. Pokémon GO, released to the Apple App Store and Google Play, has seen more than 20 million downloads in the U.S. already, making it the biggest U.S. mobile game ever.

We are covering Pokémon GO because this app really gets you out and moving – there’s no sitting on the couch when playing this game! During my last week playing Pokémon GO I have walked over 10 miles that I would not normally be logging. When I’m out I see many others that I would not normally see. In fact, my nearby park in the Phoenix area is filled with Pokémon GO trainers.

Getting Started:
If you would like to get started, here are your instructions. On your smart phone or tablet, go to the Apple App Store or Google Play Store to download the app. The app is free – you will only be charged if you buy extra goodies in the app. I’m currently at level 9 and have not found the need to purchase anything.

Once the app is downloaded you simply open it, answer a few questions, create your trainer and log in with a Google account. You can create a new Pokémon GO trainer account but I found it easier to log in with my Google.

Check out the short video below for a quick start tutorial to start catching Pokémon. The authors of this video did a great job of covering everything you need to know to be a great Pokémon GO trainer.

Where to find Pokémon:
I have found the best places to go are parks and areas where there are lots of businesses. Pokémon GO does not work well in residential areas. It was designed this way so players get out and GO. So check out your local parks and open areas and get ready to have lots of fun.

Pokémon GO does not give you the excuse to trespass on private property, however, even if that Charmander is only feet away. To stay out of trouble, I suggest you always stay on public property and obey posted hours.

Below is a map of the park near my house. It’s filled with both Pokéstops to collect Pokéballs and Trainer Gyms where you can battle for team.

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Be Careful:
Never play Pokémon GO while driving. This game takes a lot of finger movements and you will easily lose your concentration on the road. When you go out to catch your Pokémon you should always take a friend along. There have been reports of people using Pokémon lures to attract trainers and rob them.

When opening the app there is a warning to always be aware of your surroundings. Even if you are walking, riding a bike or skateboarding you need to always be checking where you are going. I have personally experienced how easy it is to bump into things while looking down at my phone.

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I’ve never seen an app or anything techie that has gotten so many people out of the house and walking. Parks are filled and even our local zoo is open early to accommodate the rush of trainers. Park officials are loving the boost in visitors entering and enjoying our public areas.

Personally, my boyfriend and I are just having fun playing video games AND getting fit while doing it. Take Pokémon GO out for a spin at your local park and I promise you’ll have fit fun.

By Patrick Gamble



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