Should You Leave Your Phone & Headphones at Home? How Running Performance is Affected by Music

Devin Arrigo

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When was the last time you picked up your phone?

Chances are pretty good that you’re actually reading this article on your phone. If not, I’m willing to bet that you’ve checked it within the past couple of minutes.

How’d I do?

Just while writing this article, I picked up my phone several times. Several times I even picked it up only to forget why I picked it up in the first place.

According to research by global tech care company Asurion…

the average American checks their phones 96 times a day — that’s once every 10 minutes.

Needless to say, some of us are hooked to our devices — myself included. Some might call it an addiction. Others might call it convenience. But whatever it is, it’s clear that we are using our phones a lot throughout the day.

Do you know the longest you’ve gone without using your phone?

Some might answer a couple of minutes, hours, or maybe even a day. Everyone’s different. My extended periods of phone inactivity are usually because of a dead battery rather than intentional inaction. \

Nonetheless, very seldom do I find myself without my phone.

My phone has almost become a part of me. It’s with me wherever I go. I have to be accessible, right?

Wrong. Well sort-of.

There’s absolutely a time when we should have our phones and be accessible — like when we’re at work.

However, there’s also a time when having our phones can actually be detrimental.

Take exercise, for example. When you’re working out, it’s difficult to use your phone. In fact, having your phone tends to bring down performance.

You don’t see elite runners listening to music while running. You don’t see elite swimmers checking their email after each lap in the pool. And you certainly don’t see NFL players on their phones during the games.

Sure, some people need to have their phones with them at all times.

But the high-performers, the elite, they understand that in order to perform at their best, they need time away from their phones — every single day.

Exercise is a great way to stay in shape. But it’s an even better way to allow your brain to decompress. To disconnect for a moment and reset. To be alone with nothing else but your thoughts.

No other inputs or outputs. No alarms, texts, dings, notifications, or people trying to contact you.

Nothing. Just you and your thoughts.

Doesn’t that sound nice?

How often do you have a moment like this? A moment when no one can get ahold of you.

Your boss can’t reach you about that last-minute project. Your Mom can’t pester you about that boyfriend/girlfriend you don’t have. And your friends can’t badger you about going out. It’s just you.

Nothing. No inputs. No outputs. Just you and your thoughts.

Some people might ask…

“What am I going to think about if I don’t have my phone?”

Well, you could take the time to just be present. Or you could think about that project at work. Or what you want to improve about your relationship with your significant other. Or maybe your weekly, monthly, or yearly goals.

What you think about doesn’t matter. The important part is that you get to decide what you think about.

No one else is putting thoughts or ideas on your screen to influence the way you think or act.

That’s the power of exercise when done without a phone. It’s a temporary reprieve from the constant pressure of having to think, feel, or act a certain way.

When you leave your phone at home, you’re set free to think about what you want to think about, without input from anyone, or anything else.

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Marathon runner | Triathlete | Personal growth addict | Writing about creative ways to become a better human being. devin.arrigo1@gmail.com

Los Angeles, CA
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