Forget texting and driving, walking and texting is a bigger problem.

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When it comes to texting while walking studies suggest we forget texting and driving and look at the issues around walking and texting.

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Walking and texting can be dangerous

 

A recent study at The University of Queensland tested the effects texting has on the ability to walk. Results showed that despite proved theories that the body maintains balance over all other actions, when it comes to texting while walking, we prioritize our phones before ourselves.

Trying to avoid fellow pedestrians and other footpath obstacles aren’t the only health costs involved with this time saver. Conclusions of the study said the reduced field of vision increases the risk of falling and running into things. While the restricted movement caused by texting and walking at the same time could trigger and increase neck stiffness.

So how does texting impact on walking?

Researchers compare the distraction similar to that of using your phone whilst driving – only walking is more demanding, constantly involving actions and reactions.

When strolling down the footpath, a million things call for our attention. Not treading on someone’s spilt smoothie while playing dodgem with people walking in the opposite direction requires a lot of brain power. So when taking some of that concentration away from the environment, and focusing it solely on a mobile phone, it leaves us without many working resources to avoid risky situations.

Researchers compare the distraction similar to that of using your phone whilst driving – only walking is more demanding, constantly involving actions and reactions.

And what are these impacts?

The study tested young healthy adults walking down a 28-foot hallway while cameras recorded their movements. They were asked to walk as normal as possible once without a phone, once while reading a long text message and lastly while they texted “the brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”.

Results show that texting significantly impairs one’s step and way of walking. The change from a natural walking posture to a rigid and upright stance is most noticeable. This transformation causes joints in the neck and lower back to lock, as well as the arms and pelvis to stiffen.

But is putting your phone first really worth it?

The answer is no.
Texting while walking doesn’t even save time. Results show that when texting, steps become shorter and the pace slower. We can’t even continue walking in a straight line, instead we curve further to the side with every step we take.

The study is the first to look at how texting may impact on the ability to walk.

By BB Intern Dominique Tait

What’s the worst thing you’ve run into because you were texting?

 

 

 

 

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Dominique Tait

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