The Science Behind Landing On Our Feet

Growth spurts can dramatically affect teen boys' coordination Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Recently, a group of researchers have been making volunteers stand on top of footstools before yanking it out of them and letting them fall. Why? For science of course, since these researchers have now observed that falling from different heights pushes our bodies to automatically respond differently in order to better absorb the impact and cause the least damage. Could have done without the yanking though.

The Science Of Landing On Our Feet

Recently, a group of scientists all hailing from the University of Queensland located in Brisbane, Australia, went through a series of experiments that sounds simple and a bit childish at the same time. In their studies, the researchers asked various healthy people who are in their 20s and 30s to stand in boxes of different sizes. Some are 5 centimeters high, while some are either 10 or 20 centimeters high. Then, when the volunteers would least expect it, the researchers would then tilt the boxes forward all of a sudden, causing them to fall forward in different ways from different heights.

Afterwards, the researchers would then study how different people with different ages would fall to the ground from different heights, despite the differences being very minute. From this, they were able to conclude that even when the difference is just a few inches, people would still respond differently to the drops. For example, when a person falls from a 5cm tall platform, they usually use their ankles to absorb the impact. However, when a person standing on a 20cm platform falls, the person usually uses both their knee and hip joints to absorb the impact and land safely.

Additionally, the researchers also found that whenever we land after a sudden fall, we tend to push down against the ground more, probably in order to make sure we stay that way and not end up flat on our faces. Per their findings, this results in people hopping a few times after landing to stabilize themselves.

Per the researchers, the results of this study can help aid modern technology in making prosthetics and exoskeletons that are more advanced and useful.

falling Growth spurts can dramatically affect teen boys' coordination Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images