24 Sep, 2015

Kids are clumsy runners because they are small

Medical Xpress | September 23, 2015

To the untrained eye, kids just look like scaled-down adults. But take a closer look at the way that they move and a toddler’s stiff-legged waddle is completely different from an adult’s fluid run. Perceived wisdom held that small children were simply immature versions of their parents: ‘Some scientists see a young child appearing to walk and run uneconomically and then attribute it to being under developed’, explains Jim Usherwood from the Royal Veterinary College, UK.

Abstract: But when he took a closer look at the way children move, Usherwood questioned this dogma and suspected that he would need to take a completely new approach to try to understand the factors that account for kids’ clumsy movements. Wondering whether the children’s diminutive stature was responsible for their lack of grace, Usherwood developed a new theory about the way that children run and he publishes his discovery that children’s short legs struggle to find enough time to do the work to push them into the air while running in Journal of Experimental Biology.