It is not a surprise that when you walk and text, you see a massive drop in viewing your surroundings, but did you know that when are walking and texting or talking on the phone at the same time, your speed of walking declines by a whopping 16 percent? That’s the finding of a study from Stony Brook University, reported in the online edition of Gait & Posture and conducted by Eric Lamberg and Lisa Muratori, who studied 33 participants. In a news release, Lamberg noted:
We were surprised to find that talking and texting on a cell phone were so disruptive to one’s gait and memory recall of the target location,” says Eric M. Lamberg, PT, EdD, co-author of the study and Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, School of Health Technology and Management, Stony Brook University.
Although walking seems automatic, areas in the brain controlling executive function and attention are necessary for walking. Dr. Lamberg says that the significant reductions in velocity and difficulty maintaining course indicates cell phone use and texting impacts working memory of these tasks.
Sure it is only 33 participants and needs more study, but still! While I can understand the texting being a massive distraction — that’s why we’re seeing gadgets that disable non-hands-free smartphone activities while driving — I was amazed at the decline in walking speed.
Image courtesy of Flickr user yumanuma