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What are Motor Skills and Why do They Matter?

What are Motor Skills and Why do They Matter?

Ever hear the saying: “oh you’ll pick it up again it’s just like riding a bike?” Believe it or not, there’s actually some truth behind that!

I’ve previously written about the importance of physical literacy. This can be accomplished with plenty of structured and unstructured activities such as outdoor free play and trying different sports. Being physically literate promotes the development of gross and fine motor skills (basic and advanced body movements). That’s why organizations like Canadian Sports for Life emphasize the importance of learning a variety of motor skills at a young age and avoiding early sports specialization which limits the number of motor skills you learn.

How Long Do Motor Skills Last?

The neat thing about learning and developing these skills early on is that, your body will likely remember them for life. Sure, you might feel a bit rusty at first if it’s been a while since you did the activity, but your mind and body will remember and it will come back.

Are Motor Skills Transferable?

Interestingly, lots of fine motor skills do transfer between activities. Example: as a kid I spent many Tuesday nights and Saturday afternoons ice skating at the local arena over the winter months. Fast forward 10 years later to when I was in university, I quickly picked up skate skiing as the gliding and pushing phases are similar to skating.

Having the opportunity to learn and develop fine motor skills at a young age is ideal, but learning movement patterns at any stage of life can be very beneficial. As a matter of fact, learning new movements (i.e., new dance steps) challenges your brain and keeps it sharp.

We all know that saying, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Well my friends, you are never too old to learn. Try a new sport, learn the tango, or visit the pool; your body and brain will thank you!


Related blogs

How Physical Activity Promotes Brain Health

Recommended resources

Canadian Sports For Life: Physical Literacy
Physical and Health Education Canada: Fundamental Movement Skills

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