Smartphones bring the world to your fingertips. You can send and receive emails on the road, pay bills as you walk down the street, and play Angry Birds as you stand in line at the grocery store. But does being able to take these activities with you help your level of physical activity?
These types of activities — emailing, keeping up with friends on social media, and playing games — are typically thought of as sedentary behaviors. A recent Kent State University study of college students aimed to determine the relationship between mobile phone use and the level of activity and fitness of those with these devices.
Turns out that high-frequency cellphone users were more likely than other users to report forgoing opportunities for physical activity in order to use their cellphones for sedentary behaviors. It also appears that high levels of phone use indicated a broader pattern of sedentary behavior in addition to cellphone use, like watching TV. Researchers concluded that cellphones, despite being easy to use while on the move, may disrupt physical activities and reduce fitness.
Like many people, I’m guilty of zoning out and surfing the internet on my phone instead of, say, vacuuming. But the cell phone doesn’t have to be a fitness and activity killer. Indeed, you can use it to your advantage to be more fit! Here are a few ways to do just that!
Mobile Motivator 1 of 5
There really is an app for everything, whether you want a stopwatch, a Tabata timer, a virtual trainer, or somewhere to log your workouts. Use your screen time to remind you of your fitness goals, not as time to step away from them.
Count Your Steps 2 of 5
Pedometers are great at letting you know how much you move daily, so get a pedometer app and start logging your movement. Set a goal to get up to 10,000 steps a day.
Photo credit: Lora Rajah
Set An Hourly Alarm 3 of 5
If your job is sedentary, use your phone to set an hourly reminder to get up and move around the office and stretch your limbs. Just make sure to put it on vibrate so you don't annoy your coworkers every hour.
Photo credit: emdot
Move It 4 of 5
If you do want to mindlessly surf the web or check Facebook, make it a point to move when you do. Whether you're walking around the house, doing calf raises or a few squats, linking exercise to your cell phone use will have you exercising more and mindlessly checking your phone less.
Photo credit: Michael Cory
Connect With Workout Friends 5 of 5
Use your phone to check in with a workout buddy. Whether you're planning to meet up for a workout or you're seeking a push to get to the gym, workout buddies can work wonders in keeping you accountable, and social media is a great way to keep in touch.
Photo credit: lululemon athletica