If you’re headed to the gym or hitting the pavement for a workout, your phone might be the second thing you grab after your car keys or gym bag. Most people keep their music library on their cell phone, and with the right workout playlist, you can turn a boring workout into an energetic, high-intensity, calorie-burn session. Plus, with fitness apps, timers and more on your phone, you may not even be able to imagine working out without constantly glancing over at your smartphone.
While your phone can provide some necessary motivation for an intense workout, if you’re not careful, it can also have a negative impact on your exercise routine.
Here’s a look at two ways your phone could be sabotaging your workout, and what you can do to stay on track—literally and figuratively!
1. Your smartphone can slow down your intensity and reduce calorie burn.
A high-energy workout session can burn a ton of calories and help you reach weight loss goals faster. But if you allow your cell phone to interfere with your workout, you could end up burning fewer calories and losing less weight.
For every moment you pause or stop moving to search for a song on your playlist, your intensity decreases. And when your intensity decreases, so does your heart rate, meaning you burn fewer calories. You’ll also spend the next couple of minutes increasing your heart rate, only to break intensity again a few minutes later.
To prevent this from happening, create a workout-specific playlist prior to starting an exercise session, and then add your most upbeat songs to this playlist. Only include songs you actually want to hear. This alleviates a lot of stopping and searching for the perfect song. This way, you can put your headphones on, put the playlist on shuffle and complete your workout without interruptions. You’re able to maintain a steady heart rate, thus upping your calories burn for the entire workout.
2. Have your phone out? You (or someone else) could trip.
When power walking or jogging, you might feel it’s okay to multitask with your cell phone. As long as your feet keep moving you’re okay, right? Well, not exactly.
Although texting and walking is common and feels like it happens naturally, it doesn’t benefit your workout. It actually forces your brain to concentrate on more than one thing at once. You’re not only concentrating on each step, you’re also thinking about what you want to say and then typing out this message. Completing these activities simultaneously can throw off your balance and slow you down.
Not only will you burn fewer calories from this distraction, you’re also more likely to trip and injure yourself. This can happen if you’re walking in the park and don’t see a tree stump, or you might slip and fall off of a curb.
To remove the temptation to text or email while working out, get an old-fashioned MP3 player specifically for your workouts so you can enjoy your music, but leave your phone at home or in the car.
If you don’t want to spend money on another device, turn on your phone’s Do Not Disturb feature. With your phone on this mode, you’re still able to listen to music, but your phone won’t buzz or ring whenever you receive text messages, emails or phone calls. It silences all notifications so you’re not distracted – and when you’re done, a few taps can turn the feature back on, so you don’t keep missing out on important communication.
Cell phones and workouts go hand-in-hand. But phones can also interfere with the effectiveness of your workout. It’s a delicate balance, so it’s important that you keep your cell phone in its place so it doesn’t throw off your calorie burn or cause injury.