By now you’ve likely heard of the new craze, Pokémon Go. So what’s all the fuss about and why would you want to participate? We admit at first blush, we had no interest but then we got to thinking this could be a good thing … even a healthy thing if done correctly. Say what?
Some history first. The original Pokémon appeared a little over 20 years ago for the video game device, Game Boy. The internet was just being developed at that time and not accessible to most. Pokémon was based on a coming-of-age tale hidden in a theme of “collecting” bugs while travelling through caves, cities, and forests to battle monsters on the Game Boy device. The designer of the game, Satoshi Tajiri, was an enthusiastic insect collector with a passion for Japanese monster movies, thus his inspiration.
Fast forward to today, and the theme still resonates with hundreds of shapes and sizes to reflect those odd little critters you see on your smartphones. A player creates their avatar to go in search of, and collect, Pokémon at PokeStops and PokeGyms while tossing PokeBalls and hatching PokeEggs. In fact, in Japan, they love the anime so much that there are posted real cartoon figures at locations across the city and tourists seek them out for pictures. But wait, we digress.
This new Pokémon Go is not a couch potato game as it was in the 90’s. To be successful at the game, you need to get outside. Wow … fresh air. Then you have to move. Double wow … exercise! We like that idea. Pokémon Go is a virtual game via avatar combined with having you in the real world. You must physically walk around to find the little creatures and you must walk a specified number of steps to level up. It’s more complicated than that and you’ll need to google it and download an app if you want to join, but this game is being played by people of all ages and not going away anytime soon. Some people are playing in groups and some are using it to meet new friends. Some are teens and some are seniors. Some are competitive and some are just enjoying the fun and exercise.
So why are we writing about this on an orthopedic blog? Well … people are getting hurt. Here are some safety tips:
- Pay attention to WHERE you are. There have been cases of people being lured to locations only to be robbed; take your quest with a buddy or in a group. Be safe.
- Look up! Don’t keep your eyes glued to your smartphone while walking in search of Pokémon. Consider this habit in the same dangerous category as texting while walking. Use the app in vibration mode so you can enjoy your surroundings while you walk, yet get an alert when you’re near a capture.
- Finally, and here is where we can help … many people participating in Pokémon Go haven’t exercised regularly or even at all; they end up suffering problems with their legs, knees, and feet. Our caution is to begin slowly and don’t overdo it just as with any exercise.
If you do overextend yourself on a Pokémon Go journey, or if you take a nasty spill, give us a call at 941-951-2663. You may also go to our website at www.SOA.md to schedule an appointment through our home page at the green button. We have four convenient locations and offer same day appointments when needed. The commitment at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates is to get our patients back on their feet, back to work, back in the game, and back to life. Enjoy the journey and be safe!