Fitness Advice: Propioception, Your First Fitness Goal
Once you start exercising, your first goal should be to improve your
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.
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.
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.