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Fitness advice: Propioception, your first fitness goal

Once you start exercising, your first goal should be to improve your

Proprioception

From Latin proprius, meaning “one’s own”, “individual”, and capio, capere, to take or grasp, is the sense of the relative position of one’s own parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement. Proprioception, simply put, means “sense of self”. Proprioception is the capacity of the body to determine where all of its parts are positioned at any given time, and it plays an important role in the world of sports.
The International Association for Dance Medicine defines proprioception metaphorically as the sixth sense, extending the classical five senses to include the body. This body sense is more than just a feeling of movement. It is intimately tied to our feeling of muscle tone, perception of effort and, most importantly, our perception of balance.
A professional athlete has a high degree of proprioception awareness, just watch this:

While one’s proprioception may not mirror a professional athlete’s, working on your proprioceptive skills will make a difference in your day-to-day activities. There are a number of exercises to train your proprioception.

Balancing Exercises

Good exercises for proprioception development would be activities that challenge balance and equilibrium. Balance exercises help your body and brain to control the position. You can improve proprioception using a balance board, a Swiss ball, a Bosu or/and a medicine ball.

Strengthening Exercises

As you build strength in the muscles, the brain begins to understand the request of this strength more and more. As strength builds, it helps improve proprioception awareness with the mind and body and also allows you to continue/hold a movement or action longer in proper form.

Exercises While Closing the Eyes

You can gain the ability to inform and trust your muscles to perform different exercises with the eyes closed. This enhances the communication between the brain and the muscles so that you are able to perform activities properly without watching the movement take place.

Plyometric Movements and Drills

Exercise involving coordination and movement patterns enhance the kinesthetic awareness. Vertical jumps, running figure-eight patterns, change of direction drills and crossover walking help to establish the connection between muscles and nerves. As you are asking the body to perform certain movements, it trains the brain to respond to these movements.
It is always important to seek expert training support whenever possible. Work with a fitness professional or physical therapist with these types of exercises as they will be able to individualize a program for your specific needs, whether elderly wanting to gain a better sense of balance and basic day-to-day functions or an athlete wanting to enhance performance and prevent injuries.

9 thoughts on “Fitness advice: Propioception, your first fitness goal

  1. We used to do a lot of proprioception-based training when I was learning Chinese martial arts. Many of our exercises involved balance, jumping, and holding strenuous positions for long stretches of time. My balance definitely improved during that time, as did my awareness of my lower body. Unfortunately the combinations of jumping on hard surfaces and holding strenuous postures wasn’t kind on my knees.

    1. Martial arts develop propioception like no other discipline (maybe ballet could compete). Unfortunately, martial arts training requires so much time every day, that it leaves no room for exercises that strengthen your weak points, such as your knees, shoulders or elbows. But believe me, there are exercises that could help you strengthen those weaknesses. A few specific exercises for your knees would have helped you a lot.

      1. Martial arts training is incredibly time consuming: I spent at least two hours on it every day, and I wasn’t doing nearly enough. I’d still be interested in learning some knee-strengthening exercises, because my knees still haven’t fully recovered from all the abuse I put them through.

      2. I will send you an email with those exercises 😉 Now that you don’t spend two hours training martial arts you can spend some time recovering.

  2. It’s a bit of a mouthful but it works.

    1. Hehe! Yes, the name is a little bit pompous, and the exercises don´t seem a big deal, but definitely works 😀

      1. And that’s what matters, brother.

  3. Propripception is something I think is massively overlooked! That was a good read mate.

    1. Thank you, my friend 😉

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