Drs. Oz & Roizen: Keep your chin up

February 17, 2014 

Two of our favorite cartoons: One depicts a man walking across the street, texting. As he passes a “Men at Work” sign, he steps right into an open manhole. The caption below reads, “Natural selection at work.”

The other shows an illustration of an anthropological chart. They usually depict man’s evolution into an upright, walking being. But the caption on this one, instead of saying “The Ascent of Man,” reads “The Descent of Man,” and the last image is of a hunched-over human form, texting.

According to some reports, in the past seven years, the number of pedestrians who have gotten hit and landed in the emergency room while crossing the street because of “distracted walking” has quadrupled. And some estimates put the actual number at more than twice that, because many incidents go unreported. We do know that there’s been a spike in the number of pedestrian fatalities.

Now, we could suggest that you pay more attention while you cross the street, but you have to take responsibility for keeping your chin up and being alert.

What we can do is point out that the neck-bent, shoulders-slumped posture that goes along with texting and walking is a trigger for headaches, shallow breathing, and shoulder and neck pain. What’s more, your entire balance system is compromised, and you’re likely to injure yourself in a stumble. So the next time you start to walk and text, stop. Just pull over, look up and find a place where it’s safe for everyone to communicate.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.

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