Sydney: Texting – and to a lesser extent reading – on the cell phone while on the road affects your ability to walk and balance.
This may impact the safety of people who text and walk at the same time, shows research.
Scientists at University of Queensland in Australia studied the effect of cell phone use on body movement while walking in 26 individuals.
Each person walked at a comfortable pace in a straight line over a distance of nearly 8.5 metre 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, modified the body’s movement while walking.
While writing text, participants walked slower, deviated more from a straight line and moved their neck less than when reading text, said the study published in the journal PLOS ONE.
“Although the arms and head moved with the chest to reduce relative motion of the phone and facilitate reading and texting, movement of the head increased, which could negatively impact the balance system,” said Siobhan Schabrun from University of Queensland.
Texting or reading on a mobile phone may pose an additional risk to safety for pedestrians navigating obstacles or crossing the road, the study added.