New research published in Computers in Human Behavior and Performance Enhancement & Health has shown a link between cell phone use and how intensely and effectively you work out. Two studies led by Dr. Michael Rebold of Hiram College and a team of researchers from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania set out to determine whether there was a connection between using a cell phone while completing daily tasks and a person’s balance and postural stability. The results showed that texting or talking on your phone may negatively affect your ability to balance and in turn, reduce the quality of your workout.
The study observed 45 college students and found that participants who texted on their cell phones while exercising saw their postural stability decrease by up to 45 percent when compared to no cell phone use. Similarly, volunteers who talked on their cell phones while exercising saw their postural stability decreased by 19 percent compared to no cell phone use, revealing that both practices had a significant effect on balance and postural stability. This decrease in balance directly impacts your workout, as your concentration is split between two tasks and the intensity of exercise you are capable of is reduced. In regards to their findings, Dr. Rebold commented, “If you’re talking or texting on your cell phone while you’re putting in your daily steps, your attention is divided by the two tasks and that can disrupt your postural stability, and therefore, possibly predispose individuals to other greater inherent risks such as falls and musculoskeletal injuries.”
Talking on the phone and texting both had negative effects on workout intensity and safety, though listening to music was seen to have no significant effect on posture stability, meaning that playing your favorite hits while working out is still an option.
While multi-tasking is common and even a necessity in many people’s lives, doing so when you are exercising can prove detrimental to your health in more ways than one. Talking or texting on your cell phone while exercising not only impacts the intensity of your workout, but can also lead to falls and other injuries. To make the most of your time at the gym, research shows it is best to put your phone away to improve your workout and safety.