Posted in cell phones, digital devices and exercise, digital life, mobile phones, modeling for kids, parents and technology

Exercise & Phones — Why Do People Do It?

IMG_8335There are times when cell phones should be put away.  Shouldn’t exercise time be one of those times?

I walk several miles almost every day, sometimes outside and sometimes in, and no matter where I am, I observe lots of people talking on the phone while they move. They may be walking, pushing strollers, on treadmills, or various elliptical trainers or on the street or jogging path — but there they are talking on mobile devices.

The last time I went to the track — my goal that day was to walk three miles —  I observed an individual on the phone while pushing a stroller with a wide-awake baby. For as long as I was watching — and I looped the person and the stroller many times on the track —  there was no interaction with the child. Moreover, her slowness, trudging and talking in the middle of the track lanes —  was an issue with many other exercisers, who needed to give her wide berth every time they approached the stroller.

My question is why do people do it? Exercise uses energy, and regular exercise creates even more energy than a person uses. Time spent moving is time away from the stresses of daily life, and exercise may even give the brain some downtime.  Does any of this occur when a person “phone-ercises?”

Perhaps these people don’t intend to exercise. Maybe they want to talk in private — though the walking/biking paths, sidewalks, tracks, and treadmills are not that private,  especially when fellow walkers and runners are right nearby or must slow down to maneuver around individuals on the phone. At the very least these people are inconsiderate to others (and the little ones if they are pushing strollers).

Adults are models and mentors for children, and honestly, when it comes to our digital devices many of us are not doing anywhere near an acceptable job. What grown-ups do, children emulate — even when we tell them to do something differently.

We should be demonstrating the importance of exercise not devaluing it with mobile phones.


3 thoughts on “Exercise & Phones — Why Do People Do It?

  1. Lots of good ideas in your response. In response to being an “old fart” please check out the other seven years of posts on my blog — noting especially those on civility in the connected world.

    1. I think you are great, Marti, I really do! That post struck a nerve…it reminded me of the generation of women before us that didn’t empathize with my struggles as a working mother in the 90’s. Thank you for all the thoughtful, valuable information you generously share with us, your readers. You are definitely NOT an “o.f.” so I know you would not want to sound like one!

      1. Thanks, Jane. I agree with you about all the struggles many of us faced as working mothers in the past and how raw some of them still feel. I watch today’s young mother’s with awe as they balance so much in our complex connected world. My point in writing the post is that I observe lots as I go about my five-plus miles each day. On some days, almost everyone aside from a few walkers and runners, is on the phone, and it seems to fit into the narrative that I heard about so often from students in my classes — that many of parents were too attached to their mobile phones. Thank you for your lovely comments about MediaTechParenting!

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