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Adolescent Sensory and Motor Development - Topic Overview

Before the adolescent growth spurt, the strength of boys and girls is about the same. But afterward, males most often have the advantage.

During these years of rapid physical growth, adolescents may be somewhat awkward or clumsy as they get used to longer limbs and bigger bodies. Their brains need time to adjust to the growing body.

Strength can be increased further in both boys and girls by participation in sports and exercise programs. A large and growing number of kids do not participate in the recommended amount of physical activity. Many children become less active as they enter middle and high school and as organized sport activities become more competitive.

Sometimes you'll need to urge your child to get off the couch and exercise. You can help motivate your child by your example—when you get regular exercise yourself. Also, talk with your child about the physical benefits of exercise, such as improving mood or energy level.

Although sports are a great way for children to be physically active while they learn valuable social skills, be aware that sports are not for everyone. Focus on things that your child enjoys doing, whether it's competitive or noncompetitive sports or personal fitness activities (such as jogging, yoga, or cycling). Some children may prefer individual sports (such as karate, gymnastics, and swimming) over group sports (such as soccer or baseball).

The growing bones of children can't handle as much stress as the mature bones of adults. Children who compete in sports may be more likely to get injured, such as smaller children who play football or children who diet to maintain their weight for gymnastics or wrestling.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: February 28, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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