Is multitasking okay during exercise?

fRoam last-second pickleball lungs on absurd ski jumps Orthopedic surgeon Kevin Stone, MD, says his patients have all kinds of reasons for injuries. But there is often a common denominator: attention, or the lack thereof.

“Mental errors are the most common cause of injury in all sports,” says Dr. Stone. “The athlete’s mind was not on the game.”

In other words, whenever you’re physically active, Dr. Stone wants you to pay attention to how you’re actually moving your body. A key way to do this, he says, is to “reduce distractions”. Which means no multitasking doing things like staring at your phone or bringing your dog to the pickleball court with you.

“Typically, when your mind is on the game, your injury rate is lower,” says Dr. Stone.

But steering away from rolled ankles and pulled muscles is the only reason to stop scrolling through Instagram during your next cardio session. Focusing on the movement you’re performing will make your workout more effective.

“Exercising to develop fitness means you have to feel your heart rate and your sweat level and your endurance level and push it a little bit each time,” says Dr. Stone. “If you’re watching TV or reading a book, you’re not paying attention to what your body is telling you.”

While studies have shown that watching TV while working can help inactive people increase their enjoyment of exercise, the distraction may mean you’re getting less of the time you spend moving. And, Dr. Stone argues, this may not actually be the most strategic approach to finding joy in exercise in the long term.

She’s actually a big believer in spending time moving your body. As he discussed in his book Play forever: How to recover from injury and improveDr. Stone describes exercise as “playtime” as opposed to “work Out” will help you develop a lifelong relationship with movement that leads to better overall health and happiness. Distracting yourself with your phone or other media can take you away from the moment and experience how good it feels to run, lift, score and play.

“The more you can do it, the more likely you are to do it for life,” says Dr. Stone.

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