You know that playing video games or marathoning season after season of your favorite TV show doesn’t do much for your physical fitness. But your smartphone may be making you sloth-like, too. New research from Kent State University discovered a link between high cell phone use and poor fitness.
Despite the fact that you can use your smartphone from almost anywhere, prolonged use increases the likelihood of a sedentary lifestyle, according to the study. More than 300 college students were asked about their activity level and their time spent on their cellular devices (49 students had their fitness and body composition tested as well). Researchers found that the students who spent the most time on their phones—up to 14 hours a day—were less fit than those who limited their smartphone use to approximately 90 minutes per day.
This effect is attributed to smartphones’ function as an entertainment device, which decreases the need for users to go out and enjoy themselves in more active ways. Side note: Some low-frequency users said that their cell phones actually made them want to be more active by allowing them to connect with fitness-minded friends.
College student or not, if you suspect that your electronic addiction is affecting your fitness, take note of these two tips:
Take a break. Every now and then, it’s good to just put the phone down and go out—whether you’re going to the gym or catching up with some friends. Sure, you might go a little nuts when you can’t check your Facebook newsfeed every five seconds, but your brain and body will thank you later.
Download productive apps. If you can’t slash the time you spend plugged in, try downloading health and fitness applications that’ll motivate you to hit the gym. Need ideas? Start with the 64 Best Health and Fitness Apps.