Since the invention of smartphones, they've become like an extra limb. The idea of leaving your phone at home is frankly terrifying. How will I block out the irritating sounds of other commuters on the train? How might I forecast if it's about to rain?
The obsession with phones has spread to running. They're the perfect accompaniment to a jog outside; providing music to distract you and tracking your route. But experts warn that it's not a good idea to hold your phone in your hand while you go out for a run because it could cause the onset of hip and shoulder injuries.
The habit could be creating subtle imbalances throughout the body, which in turn may lead to strained hip, leg and shoulder muscles. The same goes for water bottles or anything else you might carry in one hand while on a run.
Professional UK Athletics running coach, Alexa Duckworth-Briggs, urges runners to carry phones in a waist belt instead. "When you hold something in our hands, there are subtle knock-on effects to your gait. It creates muscular imbalances, affects the distribution of weight across your body, and makes you a less efficient runner in general," she tells the Cosmopolitan UK.
"This could be happening every time you train, week after week, month after month," notes the expert. "And all of this means you’re more susceptible to strains, particularly in your legs, hips and across your shoulders."
And as mobile phones get bigger and heavier, the more injuries are likely to occur.
"People tend to always hold their phone in the same hand. It’s a force of habit," says Alexa. "The issue here is in the repetition of movement, with your arms swinging thousands of times during a 30-minute run.
"By making one arm heavier, you’re altering the momentum of your limbs. And your body will attempt to compensate for the imbalance by working certain muscles harder than others. That’s where repetitive strain injuries will come into play."
According to the expert, you're most likely to notice problems manifesting on the opposite side of the body to the side you hold your phone. It's, for this reason, Alexa suggests a waistband is preferable to an armband for carrying your phone during a run.
"There are some mobile phone carriers that strap around your arms but, again, I’d say they’d still leave you unbalanced. You're better off holding that weight centrally to your body," the expert advises.
The other risk of jogging phone-in-hand, of course, is exposing it to damage if you were to fall. Mobile phone insurance specialist so-sure reports countless incidences of broken handsets mid-workout. And, as they point out, "a cracked screen can be an expensive affair. Some of the latest phones can cost close to £300."
So, time to purchase a bumbag or a waist belt for your park runs?