Health and Exercise Benefits of Pokemon Go

Health and Exercise Benefits of Pokemon Go

All over the country, people are suddenly exercising, going for walks, hikes and (gasp!) breaking out into a sweat. All of this, in search of Pokemon.

For those who are not familiar with this phenomenon, a Google search for Pokemon Go will tell you all you ever (and never) wanted to know but here’s a quick online explanation.

When it comes to reality games, there’s been research and data showing that players can become so involved they lose track of time and even of what’s going on around them. While this can be dangerous, (like the person who crashed his SUV into a cop car while playing Pokemon Go this past week), it can also have fitness benefits.

Health and Exercise Benefits of Pokemon Go

  1. You ‘Forget’ that You Hate to Exercise.  If exercise isn’t really your thing, it helps when you can focus on something besides discomfort and exercise boredom. Instead, you’re excited about an activity that interests you.
  2. Bragging Rights. Participating in a walking challenge with your friends or through your employer? Don’t be surprised if you end up as the “Top Walker” on days that you are out hunting Pokemon.
  3. Social Interaction. Instead of staying inside watching tv, playing on the Xbox, your interest in the game causes you to get go outside, get fresh air and possibly run into others who are also playing Pokemon Go. Short conversations sharing a common interest can occur. You never know: you might make a new friend.
  4. Time Flies, More Steps. When you lose yourself in a reality game, you lose track of time and forget to keep checking how low you’ve been walking or how many steps you’ve taken.
  5. You Burn Calories. You can get so immersed in the game, you don’t notice you’re sweating, tired and more active than normal. More movement = more calories burned. Pokemon Go may seem like “just a fun game” but don’t forget, you can also use it as a fitness tool. If you practice good Pokemon Go safety habits, this can be a great way to get your steps in and be more active while using a Fitbit, Garmin or other activity tracker. If you are involved in a walking program or step challenge, Pokemon Go could be just the inspiration you need to get moving.With countless social media updates about preventing sore feet, tired legs and players burning more calories than normal, it’s easy to see why many people are claiming to walk more than they ever have before.

Want to incorporate Pokemon Go into a walking routine? Walkingspree clients have the option of setting up a Pokemon Go themed walking challenge. If your company isn’t a Walkingspree client yet, visit the Walkingspree website to learn more about how we use wearable tech, mobile apps and more to help employees be more active or share this article with your HR manager.

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Pokemon Go Safety Tips

Pokémon Go Safety Tips

The Pokémon Go craze doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon. Reports of people being robbed, falling off of cliffs and tales of landing in the ER while playing Pokémon Go are all over the media. One teenager found a dead body floating in a river while playing the game. Police have also reported a car accident where one driver exited a moving vehicle in order to catch a “monster.”

It’s no wonder police departments across the country are warning players in order to protect their safety.

Pokémon Go is now the biggest mobile game in U.S. History.  The game features an “augmented reality” experience where players find and catch Pokémon characters using their phone’s cameras. It looks like they are “hunting” in the real world.  Some players are letting their excitement outweigh their common sense when it comes to catching the “pocket monsters.”  In some cases, they are endangering their physical well-being and possibly their lives.

Pokémon Go related accidents and injuries have become so prevalent that law enforcement, other authorities and the National Parks Association have released practical cautions and warnings across the nation.

At Walkingspree, we believe that Pokémon Go can be a healthy way to get your steps in and be more active. The game may just be what it takes for some people to get up and get moving and that’s a good thing! We’ve seen that it inspires exercise; helping you to get up and go catch monsters. You’ll be getting sunshine and fresh air and if you are like many, you’ll be interacting with other people, possibly improving your social life. These are all encouraged healthy behaviors.  However, we also want everyone to be safe, take wise precautions and use common sense. Here are a few tips to help ensure a safe, fun experience with Pokémon Go.

Pokémon Go Safety Tips

Stay alert ALWAYS. Look around. Be aware of who and what is around you.

Don’t play alone. Play with a partner or in a group. If after dark, stay in well-lit areas.

Parents should caution their children not to leave the house or go “hunting monsters” without telling them first. Warnings about not going off alone in unsafe or unfamiliar areas are also advised. Be aware that some young children might be tempted to hunt after dark or bedtime if not warned.

Don’t drive your car, motorcycle, bike, skateboard, hover board or even roller skate while you are playing the game. Be smart, you can’t safely do both at the same time.

No trespassing! Respect private property and don’t visit areas you wouldn’t normally (legally/safely) visit otherwise.

Remember: Don’t get so involved in catching a “monster” that you find yourself “lured” into a harmful situation.  There have been reports of people being lured to a PokeStop in order to rob them.

Wear comfortable walking shoes if you plan to be out for awhile.

Wear sunscreen. In the United States, it can get pretty hot outside. Don’t get a painful sunburn.

Stay hydrated. Bring water or plan to stop accordingly to quench your thirst.

Last, but not least, HAVE FUN and enjoy yourself. Pokémon Go is a fun game and can be a healthy way to get your exercise in for the day.

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Eat Smart! Build a Healthy Meal Infographic

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Beginner 5K Walk (3.1 Miles)

As Walkingspree members, you’re already walking. Some of you are collecting steps throughout the day and others at concentrated walks. Now you can add another layer to your walking by learning how to increase your walking distance, speed and time by participating in a 5K Walk event (3.1 miles or approx 6,000 steps). Spring and summer are an ideal time to do your first 5K event.

Don’t worry about speed at the beginning and instead focus on the time you spend walking. Take each part at your own pace and repeat until you can follow the plan.

Getting Started on a 5K Walk:

Weeks 1 – 2

We’re going to assume that as Walkingspree members, you’ve already been walking for 100 minutes/week and are able to walk daily for 20 minutes at a time.

Check your Getting Started Guide (First Steps: A Walking Primer) on your login page for tips on walking shoes, walking form and other getting started with walking tips.

Week 3: Walk at a Moderate Pace

Time: Add 5 minutes a day so you are walking 25 minutes, 5 days a week. Weekly total goal: 100 – 125 minutes.

Measure your Intensity

Talk test. If you’re so out of breath that you can’t carry on a conversation with the person you’re walking with, you’re probably walking too fast and should slow down.

Perceived exertion Scale. You rate how hard you think you’re working on a scale that ranges from 6 (no exertion) to 20 (maximal effort). Aim for at least moderate intensity (12 to 14) as you walk.

Monitor your heart rate (pulse). To find out if you’re exercising within the range of your target heart rate, stop exercising to check your pulse manually at your wrist (radial artery) or neck (carotid artery). Another option is to wear an electronic device that displays your heart rate. Your target heart rate will depend on age. Resting heart rate average is 72 beats per minute.

Week 4: Add a Long Day

Time: Add 5 minutes a day to walk 30 minutes, 4 days a week, at a moderate pace. Weekly total goal: 125 – 150 minutes.

Start building mileage by adding a long day. Every week, add one long day on your fifth day. This should be a 40 minute walk at an easy pace.

Week 5: Adding Speed

Time: Walk 30 minutes a day on four days a week.
Long Walk: walk 45 minutes at an easy pace.

Building speed: During your short walks, focus on your form. If you have not been using arm motion, this can help improve your speed (do not carry weights while walking as that can cause injury).

Week 6: Build on your Mileage

Time: Walk 30 minutes a day four days a week, paying attention to form and speed.
Long Walk: walk 60 minutes at an easy pace.

Weeks 7 and 8: Adding Intervals

You’ve done great and by now you could complete your 5K walk. This is a good time to add intervals to your walk as they help build stamina, speed and endurance.

For your long week this week, walk 60 minutes at an easy pace.

Week 9 and Beyond

Why not try turning your long walk into a dry run for your event every other week. Try to increase your pace and walk at 80% of the speed that you hope to walk for the 5K event. You can also try adding another 15 minutes to your walk to increase distance.

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Healthy, Colorful Recipes for the 4th of July

Monday is July 4th, America’s national Independence Day. People will be enjoying cook-outs, time with family, fireworks shows and great food selections.

Healthy, Colorful Recipes for the 4th of July

Some people have their own standard cook-out and get together recipes. Others like to prepare foods with a holiday theme. If that’s you, we decided to share a couple of easy, colorful recipes with you that reflect the spirit of the red, white and blue.

Independence Day Waffles

Ingredients

  • Waffles (make your own or look for whole grain frozen
  • Low fat plain Greek yogurt
  • Honey
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • optional: cinnamon sugar, granola, sugar free syrup

Using 2-3 Tablespoons of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt per serving, mix yogurt and a teaspoon of honey together in a small bowl. Add cinnamon sugar if desired. Just a sprinkle works. Place 2 waffles on a plate, spoon yogurt mixture on top of waffles and top with strawberries and blueberries. If syrup is desired, opt for a sugar free brand and drizzle over the berries and yogurt. A spoonful of granola also makes a fun topping for added crunch.

Red, White and Turkey Roll-Ups

Ingredients Per Serving

  • 2 slices deli style turkey breast (oven smoked, mesquite smoked)
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard or spicy deli mustard depending on preference
  • 1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper

Place the turkey slices on a cutting board and spread mustard on them. Lay the red bell peppers on top.  Roll tightly and secure each with a toothpick.

*These make great snacks for a party tray! This recipe was adapted from the book “5 Pounds” by Harley Pasternak, MSc.  You’ll find tons of great information on how to lose your first and last five pounds along with great tips on keeping the weight off, eating right and – of course, great recipes like this one!

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