If you walk with your phone, whether on the street or on a treadmill, you might want to put it down. Studies show that walking with your phone, stresses us out.
The dangers of distracted walking are nothing new. When we walk with our phones, we walk slower. We also tend to be less aware of our environment. And the dangers are not limited to street walking. In a study on phone-related walking injuries, the authors examined data from 2011 to 2019. It shows that most walking-related accidents happen at home followed by the stairwell. Younger people, those ages 11-20, make up the majority of phone-related walking injuries in general.
Aside from physical accidents, the phone robs us of the relaxing effect of going for a walk in nature. When walking with our phones, we’re not connected to our environment. A recent study found that on an outdoor walk, people with their phones felt more stressed than before the walk. Yikes!
Additionally, walking with our phones means we multi-task. And multi-tasking leads to stress. So when we’re on the treadmill and on the phone, we’re less likely to mentally benefit from the exercise.
Last, the act of holding a phone to our face when walking compromises our gait, posture, and the way we walk.
The gait and postural characteristics associated with phone walking overlap considerably with those associated with negative affect. Major depression can be characterized by a stooped posture, slower and smaller steps, reduced head movement, and swaying upper body movements.Walking with a Mobile Phone: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Effects on Mood
If you want to stay connected minus the distraction, I find that a smart watch gives me peace of mind. There are times when my husband and I go for our hikes and when we come across a breathtaking view. We might lament not having our phones. But that’s OK. We promise ourselves to come back and visit again.