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How Your Smartphone Affects Your Walk and Overall Well-being

person talking on their phoneIt’s a common sight, not only here in the Big Apple but just about everywhere: pedestrians navigating the sidewalks, with their eyes glued to their smartphones. While digital devices are here to stay, and we all use them, it’s important to note that using smartphones while walking can impact our physical and mental well-being. Midtown NYC Chiropractor Dr. Robert Shire shares some of the risks associated with distracted walking.

The Impact on Your Stride and Posture

When we walk while using our smartphones, we unknowingly alter our gait. Research has shown that individuals engrossed in their phones tend to walk about 10% slower than those free from such distractions. This isn’t just annoying for fellow pedestrians; it has real consequences for our physical health.

People take shorter steps and spend longer time with both feet on the ground, which disrupts the natural flow of walking. Looking down at your smartphone while walking can also lead to what’s commonly called “text neck.”

This condition, characterized by increased strain on the neck and upper back muscles, develops due to the forward head posture we adopt while looking down at our devices. The repercussions extend beyond discomfort; people can potentially lose their balance and fall.

A Downward Spiral for Mood

The psychological impact of smartphone use while walking is also concerning. Multitasking, particularly in frenetic Manhattan, is commonplace and walking while using a phone is no exception. Some studies show that phone-walking affects mood.

While talking is traditionally seen as a stress-relieving activity, it loses its positive effects when a phone is involved. Instead of feeling more uplifted, individuals report feeling less positive, which is why it’s good to disconnect from our digital devices to fully appreciate the mental health benefits of walking, especially outdoors.

Pregnancy and the Importance of Mindful Walking

For pregnant women, in particular, walking mindfully is critical. That’s because the changes in gait and posture associated with smartphone use can exacerbate the physical strains of pregnancy, increasing the risk of falls and discomfort. Maintaining a healthy, balanced posture is crucial during this time, and Dr. Shire emphasizes the benefits of disconnecting from digital distractions to ensure a safer, more comfortable walking experience for moms-to-be.

Staying Safe in a Digital World

Navigating the digital landscape safely requires conscious effort. Dr. Shire advises against using smartphones while walking, especially in potentially hazardous areas like stairs and crosswalks. We can protect our physical and mental health by choosing to pause and step aside when using our devices.

Chiropractic care can also positively affect our physical and mental health. If it’s been a while since your last visit, contact our practice today to book an appointment with Dr. Shire!


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