Your cell phone could curb the intensity of your workout

January 11, 2017
Michael Rebold, Ph.D., assistant professor of integrative exercise science, delivers a practical lesson to Hiram College students. Credit: Hiram College

Want to get every perk possible from your power walk? Turn off your cell phone, advises Michael Rebold, Ph.D., assistant professor of integrative exercise science at Hiram College. In two recent studies published by Computers in Human Behavior and Performance Enhancement & Health, Rebold and researchers from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania revealed that talking or texting on a cell phone will lower the intensity of a workout and also affect balance.

The latest of these studies, The impact of different functions and their effects on , published Dec. 2, 2016, shows that cell phone texting and talking can have a negative effect on one's balance during . This is the first known study to examine the effects of cell phone use on postural stability.

"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," Rebold says.

The study, which examined 45 college students, showed that cell phone texting during exercise significantly impacts postural stability – by 45 percent—when compared to no cell phone use. The investigation also revealed that talking on a cell phone while exercising reduces postural stability by 19 percent. Listening to music on a cell phone, on the other hand, has no notable impact on postural stability during exercise, the study showed.

So next time you trot on the treadmill, go ahead – turn on the tunes.

Explore further: Researchers identify positive, negative effects of smartphone use and exercise

More information: Michael J. Rebold et al. The impact of different cell phone functions and their effects on postural stability, Performance Enhancement & Health (2016). DOI: 10.1016/j.peh.2016.11.004

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