Smartphones Make Executives More Active, Fit: Study

by CXOtoday News Desk    Feb 12, 2016


Sedentary lifestyle has become more prevalent than ever today, partly because of increasing use of computers and other technology. From a medical point of view, sitting for extended periods can increase the risk of a number of conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Though there are plenty of ways to avoid a sedentary lifestyle, one being gymming and exercise, busy executives often times avoid workouts, giving time as an excuse. But researchers have figured out a way to prevent it with something that is becoming ubiquitous right now — a smartphone.

A pilot study finds that using smartphone reminders to prompt people to get moving may help reduce sedentary behavior. The study was supported by the American Cancer Society, with technical expertise provided by the e-Health Technology Program at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. The study appears in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

Researchers Darla E. Kendzor, PhD of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and Kerem Shuval, PhD of the American Cancer Society explored whether smartphone interventions have the potential to influence sedentary behavior. 

Participants wore accelerometers, to measure movement, and carried smartphones for seven consecutive days. Participants who reported more than two hours of sitting during the previous day or replied that they were sitting during any random smartphone assessment received a message emphasizing that long uninterrupted sitting is bad for health, and encouraging them to stand up and move around more, and to sit less.

Over the seven-day study period, participants had significantly fewer minutes of daily sedentary time and more daily minutes of active time than controls. Accelerometers recorded three percent less sedentary time than control participants, equaling about 25 minutes of time spent engaged in activity rather than in sedentary behavior on any given day.

As a pilot study, the authors recognize that the research has its limitations, a key one being the short duration of the study, however they still conclude that the findings are significant, commenting that, “Overall, simple smartphone prompts appear to be a promising strategy for reducing sedentary behaviour and increasing activity, though adequately-powered and well-designed studies will be needed to confirm these preliminary findings.” 

The findings suggested that decreasing sitting time, rather than just increasing the amount of time doing exercise, could be a more beneficial way to improve health.