Put the phone down while walking, the text can wait

By: Rich McLoughlin – Contributing Writer

Editor’s Note: Rich McLoughlin is a senior exercise science major whose life experiences have led him to motivate others toward personal fitness. McLoughlin is a certified personal trainer.

Numerous national advertising campaigns have made us aware of the serious dangers of texting while driving, but what about texting while walking? A new study done by the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia last month showed texting while walking could pose just as many risks and have some significant effects on one’s health.

The study, which was published in PLOS One, took 26 healthy adults and had them walk 28 feet while either walking normally without any distraction, walking while reading a long text, or walking while typing out “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

The study showed the multitasking participants experienced stiffening in their necks and pelvic regions. This reduced the distance of each stride and caused them to stray off a straight course. These two effects could pose a problem for those typically in a rush to class and trying to text at the same time.

Siobhan Schabrun, the director of the Australian study, concluded texting while walking negatively affects a person’s ability to walk and balance, which can be unsafe.

Holding the body in a rigid position while walking can cause neck and shoulder pain, making daily activities more and more difficult. Research by The Ohio State University last year showed U.S. emergency rooms treated injuries related to phone use while walking more than doubled since 2005.

An recently published Healthline article written by Sandra Levy agreed that texting while walking can have serious consequences. The article explained that many injuries from texting and walking go unreported to hospitals nationwide. According to the article, texting while walking can also be more dangerous than texting while driving.

The University of Dayton is no exception to the dangers of texting while walking. Students and faculty alike can often be found shooting quick texts as they walk to the next class or checking the latest social media updates.

“I was walking down the stairs in Humanities as a student was making his way up the stairs and texting at the same time. He walked right into me, almost falling back down the stairs,” said John Keefe, a senior communication major.

We all see it, and we probably all do it. After all, this is a college campus and any moment detached from our phones is a minor crisis in our worlds. Luckily for us Flyers, we typically don’t have to travel too far to get to class. Unlike our public school counterparts like The Ohio State University, traveling across busy and crowded streets or packed quads is not something that happens very often.

Our campus may be friendly for texting and walking, but we all know that feeling when we get stuck behind somebody who is traveling at a very casual pace while typing out that important text. Something to consider for you graduating seniors who are about to take your daily commutes to a bustling city with thousands of people crowded into tight urban sidewalks, and every single one of you is reading that email your boss just sent you.

“I definitely notice a difference in my pace [when walking and texting]. My body is trying to do one thing as my mind is trying to do another. In an age where we think multi-tasking is something that comes so easy, texting and walking sure doesn’t,” Keefe said.

Don’t be that person. Nobody wants to be that person. Keep your head up and out of your phone. Move with the crowd and maybe even smile at another person that you cross paths with.

No more hiding in your phone when you walk by that person you may have had an awkward encounter with over the weekend. The text can wait, and if it can’t, you better master the no-look text.

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