Cellphones are making us lazy

Research is now proving what many (myself included) have suspected for years: cellphones are making us lazy.

A recent study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity revealed that frequent cellphone users are considerably more likely to skip or interrupt exercise and scored lower on fitness assessments than those who aren’t married to their cellphones.

“While cell phones provide many of the same temptations as television and Internet connected computers, the difference is that cell phones fit in our pockets and purses and are with us wherever we go,” the researches wrote. “Thus, they provide an ever-present invitation to ‘sit and play.’”

The researchers interviewed college students about their physical activity and cell phone use.

Cell phone use included everything other than listening to music – talking, texting, sending photos, gaming, surfing the Internet, watching YouTube videos, Facebook-ing, emailing, etc.

Those who averaged 101 minutes a day were classified as low-frequency users. Moderate users averaged 293 minutes (nearly five hours) a day, and high-frequency users averaged 840 minutes (14 hours!).

The researchers then randomly selected some of the participants for a physical exam.

To measure cardio fitness, the students ran on a treadmill – with the incline increasing every 2 minutes – until they were exhausted.

The researchers also measured body fat percentages.

The results? High-frequency cellphone users were more inclined toward sedentary behavior and had lower cardio fitness levels than low-frequency users.

“While there are certainly ‘active couch potatoes,’ multiple studies have suggested that individuals who participate in large amounts of sedentary behavior do so at the expense of physical activity,” the researches wrote.

The study participants even agreed.

As one high-frequency user said: “It decreases physical activity because, for instance, the other day, one of my friends called me during my work out, and like, I haven’t talked to her in a while and I had to tell her a lot of stuff. So it kind of distracted me from my workout.”

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

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