Born to be a butterfingers

You could be wearing the comfiest Converse or sensible flats but still manage to stumble and fall or, scratch that, walking around barefoot on a non-slip surface and still get battered and bruised as you go sailing A over T while simply strolling along. It seems your name is synonymous with the phrase ‘bull in a china shop’. However, it has been proven that there are people who are clumsier than others; some extreme cases of clumsiness have been associated with underlying health reasons such as the onset of Parkinson’s disease or a stroke (or, most likely, a hangover).

Scientific research on an array of athletes has shed some light on why some people tend to be clumsier than others, and the findings were quite astonishing. The athletes with clumsiness-related injuries were discovered to have bad performance on both visual and verbal memory tests, poor equilibrium, slow reaction time and slow ‘processing speed’ (how quickly the brain absorbs and responds to information). To react slowly, it means that the brain has a delayed ability to take in information and act on it. However, the combination of poor processing speed and clumsiness is related to distraction: how well can the person block out distracting surroundings and how well the person is able to process several things at once. Having so many preoccupations, can cause the person to momentarily forget their surroundings and unknowingly walk into an accident zone, before realising it’s too late.clumsy1

“There are two stages in life where clumsiness will rear its ugly head more prominently: during the pimply adolescent years and when approaching middle age”

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It has also been discovered that there are two stages in life where clumsiness will rear its ugly head more prominently: during the pimply adolescent years and when approaching middle age. Basically during your teenage years, your body is not accustomed to the sudden growth spurt yet. With that sudden extra space to work with, the mind has not gotten used to the new improvements and will take more time to react appropriately. Hence, bumping into things is quite normal at that stage. A 2013 study from Washington University discovered that clumsiness peaks again when approaching middle age due to the differing ways young and old adults’ brains assess things when carrying out activities. For example, young adults focus on what is doing the action, while old adults tend to pay more attention to their body and the targeted object. Increased clumsiness can occur during this transitional phase in the way the brain processes and prioritises things.

clumsy3“The athletes with clumsiness-related injuries were discovered to have bad performance on both visual and verbal memory tests, poor equilibrium, slow reaction time and slow ‘processing speed’”

There is good news for you clumsy clots out there as there are ways to reduce and even cure clumsiness:

1. Be mindful of your actions, complete one task at a time so that your flow of thought will not be disrupted.

2. Complete deep breathing exercises to lessen your anxiety. With sweaty and shaky hands, your grip will lessen slightly and it becomes more difficult to hold onto things or perform tasks more efficiently and confidently.

3. Engage in exercises that teach your brain to remain focused and allows you to practise your coordination and develops your flexibility and agility, like jogging or skipping. Obvious exercises like Yoga and Pilates enhance flexibility and reduce the recurrence of injuries.

Its not all doom and gloom for you uncoordinated creatures.

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