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Written by Karel Nunnink   

Proprioception.

 

What is it and why is it so important?

Your ability to know where you are in space relevant to your surroundings, that's pretty much it.

So is this ability important to you?

Let me rephrase that and state that if you want to move in any meaningful way no matter what your goal, from bowling to skydiving and everything in between, this is a crucial function.

The only time this would not be crucial, is if your sitting on a couch watching TV, and even then you need to be able to point the controller in the right direction.

The tiny nerve endings on the most movable parts of your body transmit information to your brain at the speed of 800 mph, these tiny neurons are called mechani receptors they measure the angle of force, the speed of force, and distance of force.

They are located on the joints, more specifically on the edges or fringes of the joints where the bones are constantly moving allowing you to move to the extremes of the range available.

So we want those neurons and the messages they send to be accurate and reliable, the problem is that they require constant input and if they are not used constantly they will turn off.

You see it is a use it or lose it proposition, you only need to work the range you want to keep.

These Mechani receptors, are located on all your joints and if there is no movement or the joints are jammed up they also turn off, creating muscle weakness and sometimes pain caused by a different neuron called Noci receptors.

So imagine a simple activity like walking.

Every time you take a step, 1 1/2 times your weight is transmitted trough those small bones located in the middle of your feet, usually over the course of a day this can amount to over a million and a half pounds of force.

That might cause the joints to get jammed and guess what??? Less signaling to the brain to where your body is in space, now since the brain is not getting accurate information, it prepares itself for some unknown threat, which may never happen.

It does this by using the hard bony parts to protect the soft squishy parts of your body, and you basically move back into the fetal position, but there are a tremendous amount of degrees of variation to this reflex, which is called the Startle reflex.

Now tension gathers in all the wrong places as your brain tries to compensate for that loss of information sent from the place where force from the ground is transmitted up through your feet at over a million pounds of force a day.

Are you getting the picture? Now not only is your neck killing you from the tension gathering there, so your posture is off and any former injury is now also tight and painful, besides your ability to tell where your body is in space is now not as accurate as possible and you could stumble and fall.

Great athletes have this uncanny ability to move from tension to relaxation immediately, holding on to tension is like driving a Ferrari with a governor, never even coming close to reaching your full potential.

That is why certain specific movement patterns guided by a knowledgeable person in the field of neuro-biomechanics can have an incredible impact, whether world class athlete or senior citizen just wanting to keep moving.

 

Live long and strong.

Karel.

 


 

 

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