Your keys? Check. Your wallet or purse? Check. Your personal mini super computer?
If you’re like many adults in the U.S., you don’t ever leave home without your smartphone.
These mobile marvels connect people and entertain them. But when it comes to your
health, it isn’t quite clear whether they’re good or bad for you.
Through applications—or apps—smartphones can do just about anything. They can be global-positioning
devices, music players, and game consoles. You could even consider them to be hand-held
health coaches. Many apps exist to help you improve your health. Here are 3 ways.
Your phone may help you eat better. You may already have a favorite website or app
for healthy recipes. But you can also use your phone to record the foods you eat—much
like a food journal. It’s easy and convenient. One study found that people who used
their phones instead of paper and pen for this purpose were more likely to stick with
their diet plan.
Your phone may keep you moving. You can use it to track your physical activity. Research
shows such apps are quite accurate in their step counts and distance measurements.
They can also motivate you with instant feedback and goal setting. What’s more, people
who use their phones to listen to music while they exercise report liking the activity
Your phone may help lower stress. In just a few clicks, you can download soothing
music or nature sounds. Or try some yoga. Its physical movements and breathing techniques
may help you relax.
Despite all its capabilities, your smartphone may not always be good for you. Consider
these 3 points.
Your phone can be a distraction. Whether driving or walking outdoors, pack away your
phone. You are less likely to pay attention to your surroundings when using it. And
your reaction time won’t be as quick. You may want to skip it while exercising, too.
Although music may energize you while working out, talking and texting have been shown
to reduce exercise intensity and duration.
Your phone may make you anxious. Keeping up with social media, text messaging, and
other alerts can be overwhelming. In fact, one study of a group of college students
found heavy cell phone users were more likely to be anxious and unhappy. They also
tended to have lower grade-point averages.
Your phone may disrupt your sleep. Just like a television or computer, your phone’s
glowing screen may keep you up at night. Such artificial sources of light can mess
with your body’s natural sleep cycle. Plus, constant alerts can interrupt your slumber.
With a small computer always in your pocket, it can be hard to disconnect. Too much
phone time may cause physical problems, too. Try adjusting your phone use with these