Teenage Clumsiness Blamed On Brain

By  | 


Scientists may have now found the explanation for the clumsiness that most teenage boys display during their teenage years.

The scientists have come up with the explanation as to why some teenage boys go through a clumsy phase.

Research suggests the brain struggles to cope with the body’s change in height during a sudden growth spurt.

The Italian scientists who conducted the present study said that teenage boys walk in a clumsy manner for a while as their brain adjusts to the development.

The team at the University of Bologna found in the study that adolescents who grow in a slow and steady manner remain more coordinated. On the other hand, a sudden increase in height affects the body’s ability to control established motor skills, such as walking, lead researcher Dr Maria Cristina.

“Adolescents tend to show previous control of the body when growing up, but the motor control behaviour is organised on the body’s dimensions,” she said.

“Following a growth spurt, the body needs time to adjust to changes to the periphery, during which time a teenager may walk awkwardly, while teenagers who grow steadily are able to handle growth modifications better and so maintain smoothness and regularity when walking.”

The research is published in the open access journal BioMedical Engineering OnLine.

In their teenage years, most children put on an amazing growth spurt to reach their final adult height. At their fastest growth rate, boys can grow taller by as much as 9cm a year and girls at a rate of 8cm a year. The teenagers often appear clumsy at this stage, as their body is shooting upwards at a speed that their brain simply cannot keep up with.

Teenage Years And Motor skills

For the study, the researchers studied 88 teenage boys who were aged 15.

The researchers divided the teenage boys into two groups. One group had boys who grew more than 3cm over the three-month study period and the other group had boys who grew only 1cm or less.

The researchers also analysed the features of their gait or way of walking, including balance, the ability to walk smoothly and the regularity of their stride.

Under the study, the boys were made to walk back and forth along a corridor with wireless sensors strapped to their backs and legs. They were also asked to perform a mental arithmetic task while walking.

The study found that the boys who had not had a growth spurt walked more smoothly and their stride was more regular compared with the other group, which had experienced lesser growth spurts.