Study: Texting while walking negatively affects balance

Jan. 23, 2014 at 6:44 PM

BRISBANE, Australia, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Texting on a phone while walking affects body movement with possible dangerous effects on a person's gait, posture and balance, Australian researchers say.

Scientists at the University of Queensland studied the effect of mobile phone use on body movement in 26 healthy individuals as they walked.

Each study participant walked at a comfortable pace in a straight line over a distance of approximately 30 feet while doing one of three tasks: Walking without the use of a phone, reading text on a mobile phone, or typing text on a mobile phone.

Texting, and to a lesser extent reading texts, modified the body's movement while walking, the researchers reported in the journal PLoS One.

In comparison with normal walking, when participants were writing text, they walked slower, deviated more from a straight line and moved their neck less than when reading text, they said.

Texting and reading on a mobile phone "affects your ability to walk and balance," researcher Siobhan Schabrun said.

"This may impact the safety of people who text and walk at the same time."

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