Hands off your phone during exercise

No phone cardio is the way to go.

Like to text or check your Facebook while you’re on the treadmill or going for a walk? New research suggests that’s not good for you or your workout.

Two new studies published in the journals Computers in Human Behavior and Performance Enhancement & Health have found that talking or texting on the phone during exercise can lower the intensity of the workout and can also affect balance.

While these findings might seem obvious, a lot of people do tend to treat their cardio sessions as a bit of a bludge and don’t give a second thought to picking up their phone. This behavior is less common — and sometimes impossible — during weights sessions, but when undertaking aerobic activity, it can thrive.

“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,” says author of both studies Michael Rebold, Ph.D. from Hiram College in Ohio, USA.

However, it should be noted that neither of these studies looked at the impact of using fitness apps on your training.

The good news? Dr. Rebold also found that listening to music through your device did not affect workout intensity or balance, so crank up the music and get running.


1 Rebold, M.J. et al. (2016). ‘The impact of cell phone texting on the amount of time spent exercising at different intensities.’ Computers in Human Behavior. Volume 55, Part A, February 2016, Pages 167–171. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.09.005

2 Rebold, M.J. et al. (2016). ‘The impact of different cell phone functions and their effects on postural stability.’ Performance Enhancement & Health.

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