There are many obvious benefits of cell phones. They allow us to connect with each other wherever we go, they bring the Internet to our fingertips and they can be a life-saver in unexpected situations.
However, the amount of time we spend staring at our screens per day is staggering, and may even contribute to a more sedentary lifestyle.
A survey of 2,000 adults in the U.K. performed by Samsung’s British cell phone provider, O2, found that on average, smartphone users spend about two hours per day using various applications.
O2 also found that the smartphone users spent only 97 minutes with romantic partners – significantly less time than with the phone. Although this was a U.K. study, results are likely comparable in the United States.
Researchers from Kent State University in Ohio and Northern Kentucky University recently performed a study to compare cell phone use to physical fitness in healthy college students.
Volunteers were given interviews about their exercise habits as well as the amount of time they spent on their cell phones every day. They were then given a treadmill test to analyze their cardiorespiratory fitness levels.
When results were adjusted for factors including gender and body fat percentage, the researchers found that in general, the more time the volunteers spent using their cell phones, the lower their levels of cardiorespiratory fitness.
They also discovered that those volunteers who used their cell phones frequently also had a higher frequency of other sedentary habits, including watching television.
While cell phones are by nature portable and made to be used on-the-go, it is hard to perform involved functions on them while in motion, especially while moving at a pace that would exercise your heart.
Unfortunately, employees frequently are playing games on their smartphones during breaks and at lunch, instead of taking walks. This is just one example of how many of us forego physical activity – and face-to-face socializing – in favor of our phones.
As daily exercise, and healthy personal relationships, are key to our well-being, it is a good idea to have periods in the day where we put our phones down. Taking a walk in the park with a friend is a much healthier activity than playing the newest online game, after all.
If you notice yourself habitually glued to your smartphone for recreation, make a point to designate at least an hour a day where you put the phone down, and do something else. You may just notice your health – and enjoyment of life – improving.
-The Alternative Daily