And what have we been saying? parallel processing seems to be OK (balancing and reading), but dual or multitasking has its hazards…
decreased speed of movement. not surprising because of the dual tasking
increased ankle dorsiflexion (not necessarily a bad thing. This is probably to create a wider and more stable base through pronation
decreased stride length
we were surprised there was not a increased “base of gait”, as balance requirements increase, gait usually decomposes (see here for a cool post and video we did on this a while ago)
“Numerous studies have analyzed the impact of dual tasks—specifically, tasks that cause cognitive distraction—on gait. With regard to texting as a dual task, many studies have consistently found that it does have an effect on gait, and that’s mostly to slow a person down.
For instance, Italian researchers in the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation assessed 18 healthy young adults who did not have problems with vision, or neurological or musculoskeletal disorders that could affect their gait.3 Barefoot participants walked a straight path of 15 meters (about 50 feet) for three minutes under two conditions: walking alone and walking while texting.
They found that texting while walking differed from walking alone in terms of muscle activation, kinematics, and spatiotemporal variables. Texting was associated with delayed activation of the gastrocnemius lateralis muscle and slightly increased ankle dorsiflexion followed by slightly reduced plantar flexion. It was also associated with a slower gait speed, reduced cadence and stride length, increased flat-foot contact, and decreased push-off. The researchers also found increased co-contraction of the ankle antagonist muscles during what they called the “critical” gait phase—from load response to midstance, corresponding to the transfer of body weight from one leg to the other.”