In theory, smartphones are some of the most fitness-friendly tech, because they’re portable and can be used while walking, running, or working out.
In practice, smartphones are probably at least partially responsible for the rise of obesity in the U.S. Studies even show that phone usage is linked to lack of cardio respiratory fitness, i.e. the more you use your phone, the less likely you are to be in shape. Face it: Your smartphone is not a good workout buddy (if anything, it’s an enabler). Here are 10 ways your phone is making you fat.
It distracts you
Forget distracted walking, distracted eating is the real problem. Science says that people eat more when they’re distracted by technology (the study used TV, but I think smartphones are an appropriate substitute). When’s the last time you ate food without browsing Twitter feeds on your phone?
You can order food in seconds
…Or find nearby food in seconds
And if you’re the type of person who would rather walk a few blocks than pay a delivery fee, your smartphone now tells you how to get to the closest restaurant in the most efficient manner.
…Or find nearly anything, really, in seconds
Google Maps is pretty much the enemy of your waistline. Before Google Maps, we would wander around neighborhoods (usually lost) for hours before reaching our destinations. But now we know exactly how to get to the nearest bank/grocery store/mall/whatever with the fewest steps possible.
You no longer need to visit people
No reason to physically get together with your friends for some cool, obviously athletic leisure activities on your day off. Sitting on the couch and texting your buddies while you browse their Instagram feed is…basically the same level of interaction!
It keeps you inside
The Pokémon Go phenomenon -- and the associated leg pain people are experiencing -- is a testament to just how sedentary our lives have become since the dawn of smartphones.
It messes with your sleep
Science says the blue light from your smartphone’s screen messes up your sleep schedule. And messed-up sleep leads to weight gain, because people who are sleep-deprived make poor food choices (e.g. all the carbs).
It fools you into thinking 10,000 steps is real exercise
Fitness-focused smartphone accessories like Fitbits are neat, but they’re not exactly a substitute for real workouts. Yes, walking 10,000 steps a day will benefit your overall health (especially if you currently walk 6 steps a day), but it’s not going to keep you from getting fat.
You might work from home
In theory, your smartphone lets you work from anywhere. You could be working and climbing a mountain…or working and hiking through the woods. Or working and training for a marathon.
But what you’re really doing is working while you lie in bed and eat cheeseburgers all day long.
It sabotages your workout
You made it to the gym. Now…time to pick a workout playlist. Wait, first we need to connect to the gym’s Wi-Fi. Oooh, let’s download Spotify! Huh, there’s a new episode of MasterChef on Hulu Plus?
Next thing you know; you’re sitting on a recumbent bicycle watching cooking shows instead of working out.