Take a second to go over your gym checklist in your head—what do you always carry with you? You've got your keys, a water bottle, maybe a towel, your headphones... and of course, your phone. But new research shows that it's probably better if your phone stays out of sight and out of mind during your workout.
A new study published in Performance Enhancement & Health examined how different cell phone behaviors impacted people's postural stability—as in, their balance and ability to keep themselves from falling. Researchers looked at texting, talking on the phone and listening to music, and found that the first two had a serious effect on performance (not all that surprising when you think about how distracting your phone can be in other activities).
According to the study, texting while exercising had a 45-percent impact on postural stability, while talking on the phone lowered balance by 19 percent. And another study from the journal Computers in Human Behavior looked at how phones affected people's workouts, finding that those who used their phones during exercise spent far less time working out at a higher intensity, meaning their workouts weren't as effective.
Not only does using your phone while exercising mean your performance suffers, the distraction and effects on your balance can lead to serious injuries—like a sprain or a tear from tripping in the street or falling off the treadmill. Your workout will suffer and you could get hurt, so maybe posting that tweet or checking that text isn't worth it after all.
The good news: You don't have to worry about playing music—the study found that listening to music had no major effects on balance and performance. So, you can still use your phone to listen to your favorite songs while you exercise... just, keep your phone safely in your pocket in the process.
A good tip? Make a playlist you love in advance so you don't have to skip past or search for new songs while you exercise. And if you really can't handle not checking your phone after every notification buzz, try putting your phone on airplane mode—you'll still be able to listen to music, but you won't have the distractions of new texts and social media updates to bother you.