You already know zoning out on Candy Crush and binge-watching “Grey’s Anatomy” aren’t exactly pillars of a healthy lifestyle—and even though you use oodles of fitness and workout apps to make up for it, your smartphone addiction may still be doing more harm than good, say researchers.
A new study from Kent State University has revealed a link between high cell phone use and poor fitness. Researchers found when individuals use their smartphone during exercise for texting or talking, it reduces exercise intensity.
“Exercising at a lower intensity has been found to reduce the health benefits of exercise and fitness improvements over time,” study co-author Jacob Barkley, Ph.D., said in a statement. So even though you’re treadmilling it up on your lunch hour, if your smartphone addiction is running the show, you’re not getting as much of a workout as you think you are.
Study participants completed four separate 30-minute exercise sessions on a treadmill, while researchers assessed the impact common smartphone functions have on working out—listening to music, talking, texting, and a control condition where participants didn’t have access to their phone. Researchers tracked average treadmill speed, heart rate and enjoyment during each session.
Not surprisingly, listening to tunes increased the average treadmill speed, heart rate and overall enjoyment of the workout. Meanwhile, chatting up a storm increased enjoyment and maintained heart rate but reduced workout intensity, and texting reduced both intensity and heart rate but didn’t impact enjoyment.
“It appears as if listening to music and, to a lesser extent, talking may have benefits on the duration and/or frequency of exercise due to their ability to increase enjoyment,” said study co-author Andrew Lepp, Ph.D. “However, if an individual’s opportunity is constrained by time, then it appears best to avoid talking on a smartphone during planned exercise.”
Considering most people cite time constraints as the reason for putting fitness on the back burner, your workouts should be a sacred, smartphone-free time—you know, so you can focus on keeping that bod of yours healthy and strong. “If one is looking to get the most benefits and improvements out of their workout,” suggests Barkley, “Leave the smartphone in the locker room and enjoy your music with another type of device.”
Do you let your smartphone addiction mess with your workouts?
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