It's well-established folk wisdom that you can't walk and chew gum at the same time. But it's a very different story if you're working on your posture. In that case, chewing gum is actually the best thing you can do.
That's the finding of a recent study about the effect of chewing gum on people's "postural stability during upright standing." The researchers got in twelve subjects who were asked to stand on a force platform, which is a special device that can measure how much a person really moves while trying to stand still.
As the researchers explain, postural stability markedly increased when people were chewing gum - or, as the study insists on referring to it "mastication of chewing gum", which can be a rather amusing phrase if you're as immature as we are:
"We found that the postural stability tended to enhance during mastication of chewing gum. The rectangle area of the COP trajectory significantly diminished in the gum-condition and significantly enlarged in the post-condition. A similar effect was observed in the maximum velocity and standard deviation (SD) of the fore-aft amplitude of the COP trajectory. The values were significantly smaller in the gum-condition compared to those in the post-condition. These findings suggest that mastication of chewing gum affects the postural control by enhancing the postural stability during upright standing."
So there you go - if you need to stand upright for awhile, be sure to get some gum first. Your postural stability will thank you.
[via NCBI ROFL]