What Is Physical Coordination?

Physical coordination is the smooth functioning of multiple body parts when executing a particular movement. For example, doing a jumping jack requires moving the arms and legs at the same time as one coordinated action.

Physical coordination is a motor skill that requires the integration of spatial perception and physical movement to achieve a desired result. A simple activity, such as cutting paper with scissors, requires a well-timed coordinated series of actions involving complex neural and muscular processes. Physical coordination can be enhanced by habitually engaging in actions that require synchronization between multiple muscle groups or body parts.

Physical coordination naturally develops in infants as they explore their environment and handle various objects. Children learn to time movements to create a result, for instance, using eye-hand coordination when eating food or playing with toys. Coordination continues to develop during recreational activities, playing musical instruments or when engaged in sports, such as throwing a football while running across a field. Physical coordination that requires precise timing between the hands, fingers and eyes is referred to as dexterity.

The cerebellum is the part of the brain that primarily controls movement and coordination. Physical coordination is impaired when there is damage to the cerebellum or other parts of the brain that affects its functioning.