Most of us grab our smartphones the second we wake up in the morning, and it’s also the last tech item we look at before we finally go to sleep. So why not use the device that’s constantly with you to inspire activity throughout the day? A new study says your smartphone could limit your sedentary habits and inspire movement throughout the day.
You log in date reminders and you set your daily alarm to wake up on your smartphone. This device could also be your “movement coach,” helping to remind you to go exercise and then to stay active throughout the rest of the day. A new study suggests that using smartphone reminders (alarms) may help to reduce sedentary behavior. The study was supported by the American Cancer Society, and technical support was offered by the e-health Technology Program at the MD Anderson Cancer Center.
With two out of three adults in the U.S. owning a smartphone, and with studies linking too much sedentary time to an increased risk of obesity, weight gain, and a number of cancers (breast, prostate, colorectal, ovarian, endometrial) researchers decided to explore whether smartphone interventions could have the potential of influencing, and reducing, sedentary behavior.
In the study, adult subjects wore accelerometers to measure their movements, and they also kept their smartphone close by throughout the day. Individuals who reported that they sat uninterrupted for more than two hours during the previous day, or reported sitting during randomized smartphone assessments, were then sent messages emphasizing the dangers of sitting for long periods, and encouraging them to get up and move about for a few minutes.
The study lasted seven days and once the movement messages were implemented, researchers noted significantly fewer minutes of sedentary behavior. The accelerometers in the test group noted about 25 more minutes of activity (three percent less sedentary time) compared to a control group of subjects who did not receive movement reminders. The researchers do offer that this was not a randomized trial and the study was also quite short in duration. Still it does make sense that a promising strategy to get people moving is to simply remind them with timed messages during a work day or leisure day, or to have them set their own “get moving’ alarms on a smartphone.
So smartphone owners – set your alarms!!! This is an easy and intuitive way to have built in alarm reminders to stand up, stretch, take a walk around the office, or to get up and move around during hours of video gaming or TV viewing. It’s so easy to sit for hours at your computer and never move once. This is the smart way to avoid being sedentary – use your smartphone!
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Known as The HealthGal, expert contributor Amy Hendel is a popular medical and lifestyle reporter, nutrition and fitness expert, columnist, and brand ambassador, as well as a health coach. Trained as a physician assistant, she maintains a health coach private practice in New York and Los Angeles. Author of The Four Habits of Healthy Families, you can find her on Twitter @HealthGal1103 and on Facebook at TheHealthGal. Her personal mantra is “Fix it first with food, fitness, and lifestyle.”