Mind & Body

Al­though smart­phones can be use­ful ex­er­cise tools, they also can hin­der your results.

Oxygen - - Contents -

Sidelin­ing your cell­phone dur­ing ex­ericse might be the key to ac­cel­er­ated results.

do you have nomo­pho­bia? Most peo­ple do, and this very real fear of not hav­ing your smart­phone im­me­di­ately next to you at all times can be a real is­sue, es­pe­cially as it re­lates to your work­out. It might seem like a no-brainer that when you talk or text on your smart­phone, your work­out suf­fers, yet re­searchers still wanted to know just how much phone use could im­pact a work­out. So they put in­di­vid­u­als through one of two 20-minute tread­mill work­outs: One group served as the con­trol and had smart­phone ac­cess, while the other group could talk and text on their phones as much as they wanted.

The thing most im­pacted about the work­outs was in­ten­sity: Smart­phone users com­pleted six min­utes less of vig­or­ous-in­ten­sity ex­er­cise and 10 min­utes more of low-in­ten­sity ac­tiv­ity than the con-


trol group, ac­cord­ing to this study pub­lished in the journal Com­put­ers in Hu­man Be­hav­ior. “Be­cause you’re do­ing two things at once, you’re not able to par­tic­i­pate as fully in your work­out,” says Michael Re­bold, Ph.D., CSCS, study co-au­thor and depart­ment chair and as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of ex­er­cise science at Hi­ram Col­lege in Ohio.

In ad­di­tion, you are likely look­ing down while check­ing your phone, and a study pub­lished in Per­for­mance En­hance­ment &

Health found that tex­ting dur­ing ex­er­cise neg­a­tively im­pacted bal­ance and sta­bil­ity by 45 per­cent. “Dis­rup­tions in pos­tu­ral sta­bil­ity can ac­cu­mu­late and cre­ate more se­ri­ous com­pli­ca­tions like her­ni­ated disks and/or com­pressed nerves,” Re­bold says. It also could cause mus­cu­loskele­tal in­juries like an­kle and knee sprains as well as neck strain.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that us­ing a smart­phone dur­ing a work­out is all bad, and in fact, lis­ten­ing to mu­sic while ex­er­cis­ing has been shown to en­hance work­outs and make them seem eas­ier and more en­joy­able. But if you’re ago­niz­ing over be­ing parted from your phone even for a short work­out, you may have de­vel­oped a be­hav­ioral ad­dic­tion.

“Dopamine floods the brain when you en­gage in so­cial me­dia, gam­ing or what­ever your par­tic­u­lar smart­phone vice is, mak­ing ab­sti­nence very hard to achieve,” says Anna Kotwin­ski, co-founder of Shine Off­line, a Lon­don-based com­pany that helps peo­ple man­age their re­la­tion­ships with their smart­phones. Come up with health­ier ways to get your dopamine fix, such as ac­tu­ally com­plet­ing that tough work­out with­out the tech. “You may just find a more ful­fill­ing nat­u­ral high than the one you’re seek­ing when you ob­ses­sively swipe and tap a screen,” she says.

You may feel slightly naked when you do en­gage in a tech-free work­out, but who knows? You might be­come ad­dicted to this new­found free­dom in­stead.

Six Smart Ways to Side­line Your Smart­phone Dur­ing a Work­out

De­clare the gym or your work­out space a no-phone zone. Leave your de­vice in the car or your locker so you can’t have ac­cess to it at all, leav­ing you to fo­cus on your train­ing and noth­ing else.

Down­grade to a dumb­phone, one that only al­lows you to send sim­ple text mes­sages and (gasp!) ac­tu­ally make phone calls. This elim­i­nates the temp­ta­tion of con­stantly check­ing your phone and saves you a ton of money — money that could be spent on new work­out gear!

Don’t want to down­grade? Make your smart­phone dum­ber, even tem­po­rar­ily, by turn­ing off No­ti­fi­ca­tions, Cel­lu­lar Data and Wi-Fi. You can still make calls and send texts, but you can’t check your so­cial me­dia, re­fresh your in­box, send pic­tures or en­gage in things like Snapchat.

Down­load an app to pre­vent you from pe­rus­ing other apps. Ironic? Yes, but apps like Free­dom, Ap­pDe­tox and Flipd can block or limit ac­cess to cer­tain apps and web­sites dur­ing cer­tain sched­uled times of the day. This means you can par­cel off your work­out time as your own with­out temp­ta­tion or in­ter­rup­tion.

Set your smart­phone to Do Not Dis­turb dur­ing your work­out. This qui­ets all in­ter­rup­tions such as calls, alerts, texts and the like dur­ing the time al­lot­ted. But fear not: Your phone does al­low for some­one to get a hold of you in case of an emer­gency; just set up those pa­ram­e­ters in the Do Not Dis­turb set­tings.

Down­load Checky or Mo­ment, apps that gather data about your phone use and record things like how many times you check your smart­phone dur­ing the day. Look­ing over this data will give you a per­spec­tive on how much you use your tech­nol­ogy and will go a long way to­ward help­ing you shake the habit and fo­cus on you, your health and your train­ing in­stead.

De­clare the gym or your work­out space a no-phone zone.

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