We wish we could say, Dear Reader, that we never use our ubiquitous iPhone at inappropriate moments. But we can’t. It’s just too damn useful. It’s a great little camera … and not a bad little video camera … but in the Wellthisiswhatithink household we do find ourselves at times moving seamlessly from snapping a cute flower to checking emails, dancing around Facebook for a while, checking the weather, playing with the latest application, or even – gasp – making a phone call or two.
Before you know it, serious time can have passed, and Lord knows what else.
We well remember being in Malaysia on business. Our local tech-savvy younger Malaysian contacts spent at least as much time photographing their meals as eating them. That was a few years back. Now the phenomenon is as common everywhere in the world.
To be frank, we rather like the instant connectedness that the world now offers us all, but it’s smart, surely, to ponder what we might be losing at the same time. This little video makes the point very cleverly, and is well worth pondering …
Sometimes, maybe, we should just … be.
Moreover, today’s smart phones obviously offer all of us increased opportunities for activities traditionally defined as sedentary behaviors, such as surfing the internet, emailing and playing video games. But despite their mobile nature, researchers Jacob Barkley and Andrew Lepp, faculty members in the College of Education, Health and Human Services at Kent State University, have linked high cell phone use to poor fitness in college students.
Barkley and Lepp were interested in the relationship between smart phones and fitness levels because, unlike the television, phones are small and portable, therefore making it possible to use them while doing physical activity. But what the researchers found was that despite the phone’s mobility, high use contributed to a sedentary lifestyle for some subjects.
More than 300 college students from the Midwest were surveyed on their cell phone usage and activity level. Of those students, 49 had their fitness level and body composition tested. The researchers’ results showed that high cell phone use was associated with low cardiorespiratory fitness. In the study, the students who were the least fit were those who spent large amounts of time on their cell phones – as much as 14 hours per day. The most fit students were those who used the cell phone the least – around 90 minutes per day.
One subject said in the interview data: “Now that I have switched to the iPhone I would say it definitely decreases my physical activity because before I just had a Blackberry, so I didn’t have much stuff on it. But now, if I’m bored, I can just download whatever I want.”
The study is believed to the first to assess the relationship between cell phone use and fitness level among any population. Barkley and Lepp conclude that their findings suggest that cell phone use may be able to gauge a person’s risk for a multitude of health issues related to an inactive lifestyle.
So. What does your iPhone say about you?
In our neck of the woods, the Wellthisiswhatithink collective is off for a walk. And leaving our phones behind. And we intend smelling the roses, not photographing them.