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Mobile Devices Are Causing People To Walk Funny

It isn’t uncommon to see scores of people walking with their heads down in their phones these days, with many folks walking into poles, or other people because they’re too busy texting to pay attention to where they’re walking. And while some of us may have become skilled at navigating the busy streets while concentrating on our devices, it seems doing so has caused a lot of us to change the way we actually walk.

New research out of the University of Delaware finds that people’s gait drastically changes when they’re walking and texting, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. The researchers had 22 volunteers text on their phones while walking on a treadmill and using motion capture technology, they studied the arms, trunk, pelvis and legs of the walkers, and found that they drastically changed their stride during the experiment.

The study finds the subjects began walking with “strange exaggerated strides, their knees bending to peak position on each step, and their ankles fully flexed, as it to give themselves as much chance as possible at stepping over tripping hazards.” The researchers believe the exaggerated steps is the body’s way of subconsciously adjusting to avoid taking steps that cause someone to fall.

And it seems we are all getting pretty good at multitasking with our devices. The researchers had subjects dial a number during the walking experiment and found that very few people made errors. Such multitasking doesn’t exactly save people time though. Those who were texting and walking took 26% longer to complete the walking experiment than if they weren’t distracted by their devices.

Source: The Mirror

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