Study: Bodies adapting to texting and walking

KIMT – You may have heard of the dangers while walking and using your smart devices, but one study says our bodies are adapting.

Researchers with the University of Bath in the UK say participants who used devices while walking altered the way they walk to compensate for the distraction.

Everything from the amount of steps they took, to the distance between each step, gave participants more time to react to obstacles in their way.

Local experts  say however, the modified stance can create long-term back issues if not monitored.

“I speak to patients on a daily basis when it comes to texting and proper bio-mechanics, proper positions and trying to avoid stress. There are more injuries just from using that poor posture,” said Dr. David Haas of Haas Chiropractic Clinic.

Those who took part in the study were between 18 and 50-years-old. 30 participants took part in three separate walking experiments.

Participants were then separated into three groups, those with smartphones, those smartphones and obstacles in their way and those without phones.

In the end, those with smartphones walked 26 percent slower than those who were not constantly looking at their phones. With fewer steps and a hunched over stance, researchers concluded that these “text-walkers” were more capable of avoiding obstacles.

Haas says we should all understand the focus of the study and why our safety is important when considering texting and walking.

“Your head weighs typically about 12 pounds, so if your head comes down even an inch, that goes up to about 35 pounds of force. That’s pressure on the neck, upper back and spine, so that can cause tension headaches and neck pain and upper back problems,” said Haas.

Last year, a University of Buffalo study showed there were more who were injured in walking and texting, then distracted driving.

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