A recent study titled ‘Texting and walking: Strategies for postural control and implications for safety’ has revealed that texting whilst walking has significant changes to posture and an individual’s safety.
There has been much attention surrounding the use of mobile phones and texting whilst driving however this research targeted walking whilst reading and whilst texting.
In fact, 35% of the participants reported a previous accident whilst texting. The medical observer described a recent incident where a Facebook-engrossed tourist had to be rescued from the sea after he walked off a Melbourne pier.
Each participant was asked to walk in a straight line. They did this three times. Once without a mobile phone. Once while reading a text on a mobile phone and another whilst texting on a mobile phone.
The researches found that texting and to a lesser degree reading whilst walking altered the body’s movement and posture. The participants in the study walked slower, with a shorter stride, they also swerved more and were more rigid through their necks. The more rigid you are through your body whilst walking the more likely you are to trip or fall.
Walking may seem like a simple task but it appears it requires our full attention for good posture, balance control and perhaps more importantly to be able to navigate obstacles or safely cross the road.
Here’s some advice: Concentrate on one task at a time. If you are walking, then walk. If you are texting, then stop, move to one side of the footpath and type away!
Article written by Dr Melanie Woollam (Osteopath)
S.M., Schabrun., W. Hoorn., A. Moorcrot., et al. Texting and Walking: Strategies for postural control and implications for safety. Jan 22, 2014. PLOS ONE.
www.medicalobserver.com.au. Research highlights danger of texting whilst walking.