Look, we get it: You’re a busy guy, and busy guys have Instagram photos to post, texts to answer, and Tinder profiles to peruse. But when it comes to getting a solid workout in, you’re probably better off leaving your phone in your locker. Even if you’re not one of those infuriating people who scrolls on Instagram between sets at the squat rack while there are five other people waiting to use it, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
That’s right: Putzing around on your smartphone puts the brakes on your workout intensity—and it might even hinder your balance, according to brand-new research from Hiram College in Ohio.
In the study, researchers analyzed 45 college students as they worked out while texting, talking, or listening to music. A separate control group did calisthenics and/or cardio without phones, according to the paper, which was published in December in Computers in Human Behavior and Performance Enhancement & Health.
The results? Unsuprisingly, swiping right mid-workout makes it harder to focus on your pushups and burpees. Texting also reduces “postural stability”—a fancy term for how well you can stay balanced—by 45%, the researchers found, and talking on the phone mid-exercise hurts balance by 19%.
Not even master multitaskers are immune: “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,” lead study author Michael Rebold, Ph.D., said in a press release. (It is important to note, however, that 45 participants is really, really small for a study, so take these findings with a grain of statistical salt.)
The one exception to the phone ban? Listening to music. It’s not exactly earth-shattering; music can make HIIT more enjoyable, helping you push through the toughest parts of a workout, according to a study published in the Journal of Sport Sciences.
Our advice: Bring your phone out only when you’re doing cardio or exercise too intense to look at your phone. When you’re done, toss it back in the locker so you’re not tempted by emails, group texts, or calls. Thank us when you craft a killer bod—and just imagine what it’ll do for your Tinder game.
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