Snow White's dwarves whistled while they worked. With the advent of the Walkman, runners could listen to music as they ran. Now, some people watch TV or movies on a mobile device while they hit the gym. Though all make a demanding physical task more entertaining, looking down at your smartphone in text-head position could harm your skeletal alignment, as Michael Fredericson, MD, professor of sports medicine at Stanford and team physician for several of the school's sports teams, recently told the San Francisco Chronicle.
From the article:
Although [Frederickson's] in favor of anything that gets people to exercise more, he warns that running while you look down at a screen is poor form, and the distraction prevents you from focusing on your body.
"When you lean forward, you create an arch and hyperextension in your neck," he says. "You may get a good cardio workout, but when you get off, you'll be stiff in your upper body."
Listening to music while you exercise might be a better option. Unlike TV or streaming video, many studies show that music can benefit a workout by distracting people from fatigue and elevating mood.
Fredericson said he even encourages people in his community running clinic to align their running cadence with songs that have 90 beats per minute. But he adds that the most serious runners, like those he works with on the Stanford track team, don't train with media distractions. "They're very focused on their bodies and the experience," he said. "They have a goal in mind for every workout."
Previously: Walking-and-texting impairs posture – and walking, and texting
Photo by Jim, the Photographer