running with the mobile phone

Your phone can be your workout’s best asset or worst enemy. While research consistently shows the perfect playlist can increase your workout performance—and don’t even get us started on awesome run and exercise apps—a slew of other studies show that your phone can just as easily keep you from hitting your get-fit goals.


Source: "6 Ways Your Phone Wrecks Your Workouts" published in Runner's World

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Throwing Off Your Form and Increasing Your Risk of Injury

A recent study published in Performance Enhancement and Health shows that both texting and talking (like, holding the phone straight to your ear) on the phone while performing cardio workouts (the study looked at running, specifically) significantly impacts your stability and form. Fortunately, listening to music didn’t significantly throw off form. 

So, while texting, checking the time on your phone, or messing with your run app can throw off your running posture (potentially leading to musculoskeletal injuries), they can also split your focus and get you into falls and collisions on the treadmill or trail 

(Michael Rebold, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., director of Integrative Exercise Science department at Hiram College). Source: "6 Ways Your Phone Wrecks Your Workouts" published in Runner's World. 

Phone causing Decreased Exercise Intensity and Rest Breaks Last Way too Long

If you are using your phone while exercising, you aren’t going to push yourself as hard as you would otherwise, says Rebold, whose 2015 PLOS ONE study found that cell phone usage during exercise is inversely linked with intensity. In the study, he put 33 women on treadmills, allowing all of the runners to choose their own speeds (he covered the displays so they wouldn’t know their actual speeds). When women texted and talked during their runs, they wound up running about 10 percent slower than when they left their phones alone. Luckily, the study did find that listening to music can increase workout intensity—as long as you aren’t fiddling with your music library the whole time. It’s natural to want to kill time between your workout sets. But, once you whip out the phone, your rest breaks can easily extend far longer than ideal. Apart from being a huge time waster, taking too-long breaks between your sets can actually blunt the benefits of the exercises you do perform.

(Stephen Graef, Ph.D., sports psychologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center). Source: "6 Ways Your Phone Wrecks Your Workouts" published in Runner's World

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Breaking Your Flow

While listening to music during your workout can certainly boost enjoyment, answering work emails does anything but, Graef says. Plus, a constantly dinging phone breaks your focus and ability to achieve mental “flow,” in which activity in the brain’s frontal and prefrontal cortexes—areas responsible for your typically incessant internal chatter—dramatically declines. In flow, everything feels automatic and time seems to fly, he says, noting that many experts believe mental flow is required to achieve the coveted runner’s high. Source: "6 Ways Your Phone Wrecks Your Workouts" published in Runner's World

Bring the Phone for Safety

Once upon a time I thought this was ridiculous. These days I carry it with me on most runs and I feel safer. I’ve gotten lost on a run before and fought back tears and tiredness as I ran 10+ more miles than planned. I have debated knocking on someone’s door and asking to use their phone to call my husband (I didn’t). If I had my cell phone with me, I would have been able to call and he wouldn’t have been at home worrying why it had been hours since he last saw me when I had told him I was only running 6-7 miles.

Source: "10 Ways You Can Stay Safe When Out On Morning Runs" published in Women's Running