Why You Should Get Up and Pokémon Go

By Sara Butler

Playing Pokémon Go

There aren’t a lot of things that make me feel young again, but I have to admit Pokémon Go has me feeling at least 24, maybe 20 on a good day. Of course, there are the obligatory posts on Facebook about adults driving around town searching for Pokémon and acting like children, which has only motivated me to take this Pokémon stand -- Pokémon Go is good for you.

Think about it, adults sit for such a large part of their day and have done so for such a long time that we’ve become an overweight population. First you commute to work in the morning, and then you sit at a desk all day staring at a computer. If you’re lucky, you get to take a walk at lunch. Our society has become increasingly sedentary, and if you’ve heard your chiropractor say it once you’ve heard them say it a million times – sitting is killing you. So, any reasonable person would deduce that, when a few precautions are observed, Pokémon Go is saving your life!

The Dangers of Sitting

Do you think Staryu spends their whole day sitting around? NO! They’re training up, getting ready to fight epic Pokémon battles. No Pokémon is going to die from doing too little (well, maybe Magikarp – you know it’s true) when there’s epic Pokémon glory to be had!

You, on the other hand, are an entirely different story. A sedentary lifestyle is causing you a whole host of non-Pokémon issues, including:

  • Increased risk for heart disease
  • Damage to the discs in your back
  • Muscle degeneration (unless you’re flexing your abs right now)
  • Poor circulation in your legs
  • Strained neck from forward head tilt
  • Tight hip muscles
  • Weak glutes, decreasing stability
  • Increased risk of obesity
  • Increased risk of type-2 diabetes

Those are only a few of the things that have been found to be related to too much sitting over the course of a day. It’s a major problem, and one of the reasons your chiropractor is always on your back to get out and get moving!

The One Danger of Pokémon Go

The only danger I can see to the Pokémon Go phenomenon is the danger inherent to any phone or tablet-based game -- text neck. Oh yes, text neck is a real thing, just ask your chiropractor. The forward head position most people assume when using handheld technology is simply not healthy for you.

Text neck results in neck soreness and pain. It can also lead to:

  • Muscle spasms in the upper back.
  • Pain and tightness in the shoulders.
  • Upper back pain that can be mild to severe.
  • The possibility of a pinched nerve in your neck leading to pain that shoots down your arm into your hand.

How can you be expected to hunt down, train and fight Pokémon when you’re in the throes of a neck spasm? Do you think Charizard can defend your gym well with a terrible case of text neck? No! This is exactly why it’s important to take steps to prevent complications of text neck.

First and foremost, stay in fighting shape with regular visits to your chiropractor. And maybe write in to the creators of the Pokémon universe and say “Hey, every Pokémon needs a chiropractor in order to train at their best, so let’s add a chiropractic clinic to the game. The Joint Chiropractic has more clinics than anyone in America, so feel free to send players there. Maybe create a posture-perfect little creature who lives in the lobby and goes by the name ‘Backster.’” I’m sure they’ll go for it.

You should also try to hold your cell phone or tablet at eye level. Actually, any screen you spend a lot of time gazing upon should be at eye level so you don’t have to bend your neck forward at all to view it properly. It also decreases the chance of you accidentally stepping into traffic.

As much as it hurts to say it, you need to take breaks too. I know, I know -- you’re so close to that legendary Pokémon! But, taking frequent breaks from screen time is needed. Aim for at least once an hour. Remember the big picture, the goal is to have a long career playing this novel game, so you don’t want to incur any injury-related downtime that puts you on the disabled list. An ounce of prevention for a pound of pleasure.

I realize as adults we’re supposed to leave our childhood behind, but I’m going to have to disagree. Things like Pokémon Go keep us young, and it gives us an excuse to get up from our desk or our couch and actually get moving. Plus it’s something the entire family can enjoy together, so it gets your kids out of the house, away from those sedentary video games and out having fun with (gasp!) their parents. How on earth could that be bad?

Pikachu -- I choose you!


Image Credit: Kaspars Grinvalds / Shutterstock.com