Professors connect cell phone use with inactivity

India Hines

This generation of college couch potatoes don’t need televisions or video games. Jacob Barkley and Andrew Lepp, Kent State researchers and faculty from the College of Education, Health and Human Services, have linked cell phone use to bad physical fitness in college students.

“We found that there is a negative association between fitness and cell phone use,” Barkley said. “The more you use it the lower their cardiovascular fitness.”

“We were well aware of previous research that indicated a link between watching television and playing video games and the negative outcomes it has on health,” said Barkley. “Modern cell phones can do the same thing as a computer or television, but it does not have to be sedentary activity so we wanted to explore the relationship it could have on fitness.”

Barkley and Lepp surveyed 300 students throughout the Midwest. Forty-nine of those students had their fitness level and composition tested. It showed students who spent as much as 14 hours on their phone were less fit than those who only spent 90 minutes on it.

Benjamin Cope, recreation program coordinator at Student Recreation and Wellness Center, said students on their cell phone would be more distracted.

“The people who were on their phone excessively would be more distracted and have less time to be engaged in exercise related activates throughout the day,” said Cope.

Ryan Nolen, graduate higher education major, knew he had to change his inactivity with exercise.

“My trigger moment was when my pants started not to fit,” he said. He now does a daily exercise routine to stop from falling into sedentary activities.

Barkley recommends students not using their phone when walking because it can slow you down, and do not use a cell phone when you’re on the treadmill to help increase physical fitness.

Cope also recommends using time wisely and trying new activities.

“Take a bike ride or try a new activity that you have never tried before such as rock climbing or kayaking. If you need visual stimulation while working out try some Wii exercise related games,” Cope said.

“Figure out a set time to devote yourself to exercising because it becomes easier to keep up with it,” suggested Nolen. “It should get to a point where you feel guilty if you are not doing your workout.”

Contact India Hines at [email protected].