Do Some Researchers Drink Prior to Brainstorming Research Topics?

by Matt Weik

I love research. I mean, LOVE research. I think research is the only way that we can separate what’s truly valid and what is simply “bro-science.” I have been corrected numerous times over my time in the industry that as research is published, it’s completely different from the methods I myself read about and were taught prior. That being said, there are some studies out there that make you scratch you head and wonder if the group of researchers conducted a study as a joke. Below is a perfect example, yet nonetheless, it’s showing something that has been validated through research.

Say what? You can’t be serious?

We need to start off by saying, I have the utmost respect for researchers. I personally devoted a lot of time in order to conduct my own research on exercise dependence and get it published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. My research showed that there might be a bias in the way exercise dependence questionnaires are worded that can cause each gender to answer a certain way. I’m very proud of the research and hope that one day it causes people to sit down and truly look at both questionnaires and possibly create a new way to measure exercise dependence that is without bias. Until then, the EDQ (exercise dependence questionnaire) and EDS (exercise dependence scale) questionnaires will continue to show a bias.

That being said, some studies out there make you wonder if in a drunken stupor, a group of buddies came up with a research topic. For instance, a group of researchers from Hiram College wanted to see how using a cell phone while exercising effected the individuals results. Should we take a guess as to what the results showed? I get it, we don’t truly know unless someone conducts a study, but honestly, does anyone truly care about the results of the study. In the fitness industry, it’s common knowledge that if you have time to talk, text, or surf the web on your phone, you’re not working hard enough. But, let’s hear them out and see what this group of researchers found. Stay with me, this might be painful—kind of like a train wreak that you don’t want watch, yet you can’t look away.

If you want results, put your phone down? Weird concept.

Researchers who conducted this study using 45 college students found an amazing discovery that by using a cell phone when exercising, it actually minimizes the intensity of your workout. Not only that, but if you are texting while performing cardiovascular exercises, your balance and stability may be compromised by as much as 45%. Simply talking on the phone reduced balance and stability by 19%.

One researcher went as far as to say, “If you’re talking or texting on your cell phone while you’re putting in your daily steps, your attention is divided by the two tasks and that can disrupt your postural stability, and therefore, possibly predispose individuals to other greater inherent risks such as falls and musculoskeletal injuries.” Surprisingly, this is the first study that looks at postural stability when it comes to using a cell phone while moving.

Good news for those who listen to music while exercising! This study also looked at how workout intensity and balance/stability correlated with the use of listening to music via your cell phone. There were no negative impacts on either through this use so by all means, rock out during your workout.

What’s missing?

Something that this study didn’t truly touch on was the “intensity” of each cardiovascular (or even resistance training) workout. Coming up with a solid stance on stability issues that can arise through the use of a cell phone is great, but they really missed a key piece with how much it effects the workout itself.

What I would like to see is how much does the use of a cell phone lower the results had by individuals. Those who text and talk on a cell phone simply cannot put forth maximal effort in my opinion. And I’d like to see a study done to look into my theory. Also, what effect does the use of a cell phone to log your workout or a workout log have on an individual’s workout. Is it a distraction? Does it hinder intensity? Or does it help in that it motivates someone to push harder based off of what their phone or log is showing them? We all know that it can be beneficial to log your workouts so you know what weights you used prior so you can progress, but does taking the time to log everything as it happens hinder your intensity and results? There is so much more than we can look into regarding this topic that I feel there is more work to be done.

Michael J. Rebold, Cody A. Croall, Emily A. Cumberledge, Timothy P. Sheehan, Matthew T. Dirlam. The impact of different cell phone functions and their effects on postural stability. Performance Enhancement & Health, 2016; DOI: 10.1016/j.peh.2016.11.004