Columbus, OH,
17:55 PM

Pokemon Go: The key to an active summer break?

OhioHealth experts weigh in on a new app that's inspiring the young and old to get moving outside

It’s a little app that’s causing a big buzz: Pokemon Go.

The augmented reality game was released last week and uses real world landmarks and google maps to build a “real world gaming platform”, where adults and children can use their smartphones to hunt and catch little virtual creatures known as Pokemon.

Trust us. It’s fun. It’s addictive. It’s a sure fire way to get kids who love their Xboxes and Playstations out from in front of the TV and into the real world outside their door – albeit still attached to tiny screens. But who’s going to argue when your 13-year-old Playstation-attached son asks mom if she wants to go for a walk?

If you’ve seen more people walking around and glancing down at their phones, or stopping and flicking their thumbs up the screen, there’s a good chance you’re watching someone play Pokemon Go.

So what do OhioHealth experts have to say about this new trend in gaming? This morning, at OhioHealth’s HOOFit walk at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, we spoke with one of our athletic trainers who was there to lead a walk and talk, coincidentally, about raising an active generation.

"I think it's super important because with working with our youth out of high school and middle school in the central Ohio area, I see how often all of our kids just sit around and play on their phones and don't move around," says Tiffany Estes, OhioHealth Sports Medicine athletic trainer. "So I think the fact that they are getting up, moving around and walking and not just sitting on the couch playing on their phones, it's important for their future, for their bone health and living their life and being healthy."

We even found some Pokemon hiding at the zoo and in OhioHealth hospitals, as well as a few gyms (places where you can pit your Pokemon against other “trainer's” Pokemon) and Pokestops (pit stops for Pokemon Go supplies).

As always, when walking with your smart phone in hand, please remember to keep your head up and aware of your surroundings. We’d hate for you to have to visit one of OhioHealth’s Urgent Cares or Emergency Departments, because you tripped over a crack in the pavement, or ran into a pole or a sign. If you’re tracking or trying to catch a wild Pokemon, stop walking – THEN “catch ‘em all”.