What if we told you that your perennial butter fingers could be cured? That you could stop stubbing your toes on furniture and falling over for no good reason? That’s right – turns out that clumsiness isn’t as hereditary or incurable as those movies with ‘hilarious’ clumsy characters make it out to be.
Armed with the determination to prove that practice does make perfect, even when it comes to getting rid of clumsiness, we spoke to NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Sandeep Achanta, who is also the co-founder of Strength System in Chennai. “One of our core tenets here at Strength System is unbreakability. Yes, we made up that word. But the stronger, more resilient and capable of movement you are, the better your chances of living a longer and healthier life,” says Achanta.
It’s Your Body – Own It!
Mastery over your own body isn’t an impossible goal. It is, in fact, essential to improved quality of life. “Our greatest fear as we age is the fear of falling. If we are strong and have good proprioception (it’s the medical term for the awareness of the space around you), we are probably already one step ahead in protecting ourselves from taking a fall, and if we do fall down, we have a better shot at getting back up in one piece,” explains Achanta.
And the benefits speak for themselves. In the long-term, the benefits of being in increased control of your own body are things like lesser risk of injury, ability to recover from injury and the ability to regain balance. However, in the short-term, the results can be quite drastic. “Are you hesitant to take that suitcase out of the loft? Does climbing that ladder intimidate you? Are you nervous about that trek to the Himalayas you’ve got planned? Working on your strength and movement capabilities will drastically improve your confidence in such situations and will allow you to be a fully capable human being,” says Achanta.
Fix What’s Wrong
The easiest thing to do to fix clumsiness is trying these simple exercises which increase coordination, core stability and proprioception. And in case you want to try something other than the exercises he recommends here, Achanta has this advice: “Taking part in any kind of an exercise regimen that involves a broad variety of complex movements is a good idea. Yoga, training with free weights, CrossFit and parkour are all great examples.”
We know it sounds silly, but crawling is the simplest way to get the ball rolling on treating that clumsiness. Think about it this way – if our first lessons about this world and how our body works were learned while we were still crawling around as infants, it can’t be that bad, right? “The sensory feedback from just crawling will drastically improve your coordination, core stability and proprioception,” Achanta assures us.
Let’s face it – it hurts when you fall, even if everyone else is laughing. And while we’re working on that balance and stability, it’s also a good idea to learn how to fall without causing injury to ourselves. “Fear of falling is one of our greatest fears as we age, and it only gets worse as we advance in years. Learning to roll and distribute the force when you fall is a great way to minimise the chances of injury,” explains Achanta.
It may look simple to do, but this exercise contains so many complex movements and variations of poses that it’s actually excellent for improving coordination and strength. And in case you’re still sceptical, Achanta says that it’s also great for developing an awareness of the space around you.
Bonus Tip: It’s All In The Eyes
Apart from being able to control your body to prevent clumsiness, you also need to be able to develop good hand-eye coordination so that you can interact with objects without living in fear of breaking them constantly. There are several exercises to build hand-eye coordination, but Achanta swears by the tried-and-tested method of simply throwing a ball against a wall and catching it before it hits the floor. “Do it with both hands. Do it with one hand. Do you with your non-dominant hand. Write a bunch of letters on the ball, and try to read the letter that’s facing you before you catch it,” says Achanta.
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