Fitness

Watching TV While You Work Out Is Bad

How distractions like TV and your phone are keeping you from seeing results at the gym.

We’ve gone into detail on the perils of replying to those text messages during your workout, but tapping away your cell phone isn’t only thing to point a finger at when it comes to distractions at the gym. While working out used to be considered a time to focus on only the physical and de-stress, these days we’re bombarded with opportunities to divert our attention. Now, we can go through work emails, scroll through Facebook (or Instagram, or Snapchat, or…), read a book, or catch up on Twin Peaks on a whim. Especially if we aren’t the biggest cardio fans.

Even though zoning out to the gym TV seems harmless (they put the screens right in front of you, after all), not staying focused on your fitness routine can compromise your results. From mindlessly moving to pulling and straining your muscles, these are the ways distracting yourself is hurting your workout— and how using Aaptiv can combat them all.

Flat Speed

Using outside sources to distract you from your fitness routine is getting in the way of your progress. Though it may seem mindless to watch TV while you run or climb stairs, the fact is that your mind has trouble focusing on more than one large thing. And, when your mind isn’t focused your body can easily slip into autopilot. That usually means you stay at the same comfortable pace your whole workout. Although you might think that’s what you want (Working out without even thinking about it? Score!), you won’t be getting nearly the workout or benefits you would be if your head was in the game. By switching up your speed and paying attention to intervals in a routine (HIIT Remix, anyone?) you’ll burn more fat, improve heart health, and maintain muscle. But all those intervals take focus. So, switch off the TV and listen up.

Bad Posture

Practically any workout you can think of needs requires good form to produce results. Running? You bet. Elliptical? Of course. Weight lifting? Yes, even with the small weights. Even walking with good form can make a world of difference. Yet, the moment you pull out a phone or pick up the gym TV remote you’re asking for trouble. This guarantees hunching over to look at the screen and giving up at least one arm to hold the device. And let us never forget: Looking down is not good. Ever.

Sacrificing proper posture also means you won’t be using all of the muscles you intend to, so you can say goodbye to those coveted overall results.

Neck and Back Strain

Every part of your body is constantly working together—even more so when you’re physically active. That being said, when you start using your arms to hold a phone, tablet, or book, other body parts have to compensate for their usual swinging, momentum-giving motion. The one that has to pick up that slack? Your back. On top of now being less stable, you’re adding a slight twists to your back. Both of these lead to back strain.

Your neck also experiences strain, albeit for more obvious reasons. Constantly tilting your head forward adds weight to the load your neck is carrying, eventually affecting your upper back, shoulders, and arms. All of the extra strain on your neck and back can easily lead to pain and injury.

Tight Muscles

We’ve touched on how stress is sabotaging your workouts. Distractions have similar effects. Think about it: You’re jogging on the treadmill, checking your email, and a message pops up from your boss. She or he is upset. Instantly, your mind and body go into stress-mode. Instinctively, your muscles tighten, which is especially dangerous when working out. While muscle tension itself isn’t dangerous, going too long without releasing it can make you feel tight and block blood flow to the body. Even worse if you’re too distracted to notice it. In short: More pain, less results. Perhaps save the stress-inducing emails and political television channels for another time.

Slow Reaction Time

When walking across the street or on a trail, our heads naturally face forward, eyes looking straight ahead. By doing this, we get visual depth that allows our bodies to react to whatever’s around us. This should in no way change when you enter the gym. While doing cardio especially, it’s paramount that you look forward, not up or down at distractions. When you do the latter, you risk confusing your body and its reactions. The stress it then goes through trying to deal can lead to headaches.

Injury Risk

Whether you’re getting it going on the treadmill, with weights, or even with your own body, you’re constantly using heavy machinery (or large muscle groups) that requires your full attention. In each of these cases, you need to be aware of multiple things including good form, pace, posture, and how to actually use the tool you’re working with. Keeping all of this in mind is hard enough—let’s not add keeping up with Kim, or politics, or your social life to the list. Doing so could lead to mindlessly falling, twisting, pulling, and straining. Ouch. Whatever it is, in the case of avoiding injury, it can wait.

What Aaptiv is Doing to Help

Here’s where we come in. By downloading and using Aaptiv you’ve already taken a huge step in improving your workouts. Not only is it easy to use and the trainers legitimately the best, but with Aaptiv there is no room for distraction. We are firm believers in your gym time being your time. That means the focus, hard work, and payout is all you. In a world of constant connection to technology and the rest of the world, we’ve included all of the things you need to stay focused and none of the things you don’t.

The most unique feature of all is arguably the easiest to spot. This is no video stream. While workout videos can be helpful, they still keep you bound to staring at a screen. The same could be said for Pinterest print-outs and the like. Ever tried doing burpees while holding your phone? Dreadful. By recording audio instead, the app allows you to keep your form at a ten, no matter the workout. Simply place your cell in an armband or similar. No strain here.

There’s no reason to worry about visual instruction either, since the trainers are sure to speak all of the guidance you need. From clear instruction to perfectly timed inspiration, they’ve got their classes down to a science. There’s no need to eye an inspirational quote you saved and no opportunity to chat with the person next to you. They bring the power, motivation, and direction so all you have to do is plug in and get going.

Meanwhile, we’ve got you covered with the best playlists for each routine. No need to fiddle with Pandora or Spotify. Now, you don’t have to worry about a slow song coming up and ruining your pace, or having to stop and tap next until something better comes on. Whether it’s Pop Royalty Run, Heavy Hip Hop Pedals, R&Burner, or 80s Mix, it’s all there. Straight to your headphones.

A New You In 30 Days. Introducing Aaptiv “Coach” – Click the image below to learn more.

Fitness

Subscribe

Welcome to the guidebook to your healthiest life. Aaptiv delivers the highest quality fitness and health information from personal trainers and industry experts. Subscribe now for a weekly dose of inspiration and education.

I would like to receive weekly fitness articles and inspiration from Aaptiv Magazine.

Please click the checkbox to subscribe.