Posts Tagged ‘smart phones’

Does that question cause you some anxiety? Even thinking about it may feel impossible!
Our phones are used for so much these days; banking, shopping, entertainment, keeping in touch, navigating and more. Even my kids share ways their teachers incorporate their phones into their school day with quizzes and classroom research. 

cell phone

As our use of our phones has grown, so has the research suggesting that our phones can impact our health: physically, mentally and emotionally. With this in mind, taking a break from your phone can be a powerful way to improve your health and well-being. The benefits of taking a break from screens are vast and impact many areas of our daily life. Improved mood, better sleep, a healthier work/life balance, being more present in everyday moments and even a more focused driver are all positive benefits from a break. 

Putting down your phone can be easier said than done.  It doesn’t have to be permanently. Just a few small changes in the way phones are used in your daily life can have a big impact. Here are a few to consider:

Remove phones for transitional moments in your day: walking, getting ready in the morning, driving etc.  Instead of allowing your phone to distract you focus on walking from your car into the grocery store.  Be present in the moment. Pay attention to your breathing, what you see, what you smell.

Consider other ways to fill down time: We haven’t always had our phones. What did you do with your downtime before?  Our phones often control or take over our downtime with checking on social media or playing a game.  Think about what you used that downtime for before you started crushing all that candy and try to implement some of those activities or hobbies.  

Put your phone away before bed: The blue light emitted from our phones can impact sleep, making it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep. Our mind needs time to unwind after technology use throughout the day.   Shutting off your phone 30 minutes before bed can help you achieve more restful sleep and help your brain produce the melatonin it needs to fall asleep and stay asleep. 

Find opportunities to explore the real world: Get outside, spend some time in nature.  Focus on building real relationships.  Walk over and have a conversation with a neighbor face to face instead of texting.  Call a friend or make plans that don’t include screens or your phone. 

Put your phone away during conversations:  Studies show that people feel less connected to conversation partners, and found their partners less empathically attuned, when a cell phone was present during the conversation. Having a phone present can be a barrier to a deeper or meaningful conversation. These conversations require trust and undivided attention.   Putting your phone away shows your loved ones that you are listening and focused on them. 

Whether as a temporary breather or an opportunity to create enduring change, there is much to be gained from taking a break from your phone. Screen-Free Week is April 29- May 5. Take the online pledge and you’ll receive support and tips for going screen free.
There is no need to go it alone- consider getting close friends, family, and household members to join you in this effort.



Commercial-Free Childhood. (2019). Rediscover the joys of life away from screens. Retrieved from https://www.screenfree.org/

Gomes, M. (2018, April). Five Reasons to Take a Break from Screens. Greater Good Magazine. Retrieved from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/five_reasons_to_take_a_break_from_screens

The National Sleep Foundation. (2019). Three ways gadgets are keeping you awake. Retrieved from https://www.sleep.org/articles/ways-technology-affects-sleep/

Written by: Alisha Barton, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County

Reviewed by: Amanda Bohlen, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County


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Fitness apps help people develop an exercise routine and track their progress. There are new apps out that offer social encouragement for exercise and are entertaining! It’s a great way to meet your fitness goals and improve your health.
Imagine virtually climbing Mount Everest by achieving small bursts of exercise and completing short work outs to move to the next level. Listed below are some fitness apps that strive to keeping exercise interesting.


Platform: iPhone and Android, free

Method: Users achieve the next game level by logging workoutsThis app uses social network to motivate people. For every workout logged on, users get points which are awarded based on specific exercise and workout’s intensity. As users build up points, they aquire virtual badges and medals. Users may follow friends, offer advice or give props on social media. Also, there are special workout groups for diabetics, weight loss, and marathon runners.


Platform: iPhone, free

Method: Encourages groups to take on big challenges.
Ever dream of running 100 miles or biking 5,000 miles within a set period? This app lets you compete as part of a challenge. Often, this type of friendly competition can be just the push needed to get people motivated and exercising! The app provides points and virtual medals and will randomly send rewards that can be redeemed for discounts on running apparel or free music downloads.



Platform: iPhone, Android, free

Method: Runners draw virtual pictures on a map as the app traces their route.
The phone’s GPS traces their route to draw virtual pictures on a map. The more they run the more colors available to trace their routes. The concept is to motivate people to explore new places and be creative while they run.


Platform: iPhone, free

Method: Users work as teams to move through challenging adventures to climb Mount Everest or hike the Inca Trail.
Through exercise, teams can accomplish big achievements using this text based adventure app. Users move through a virtual map and a story by completing push-ups or jumping jacks, to move to the next spot. A team of 2-3 people, such as office co-workers, friends or family members may do three or four exercises a day and complete a challenge within a week to win a virtual trophy. This is a great way to motivate one another to achieve the challenge!
All of these apps are fun and motivational and offer encouragement to get active. As the smart phone use increases, this is a great way to put them to good use!

Sources: macworld.com.category/apps

Writer: Beth Stefura, M Ed, RD,LD. Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewer: Liz Smith, M.S, RDN., L.D, NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED Ohio State University Extension, smith.3993@osu.edu

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