In life, it is sometimes easy to lose sight of the important things. Exercise is not any different and it’s one particular missing links which make up the backbone of our ability to function optimally.
Our Brains and Bodies are Linked
Recent studies from the Department of Psychology at the University of North Florida* show that people can increase our working memory up to fifty percent by performing movements and exercises like running barefoot, carrying large and/or awkward objects (farmer’s walk), walking or crawling on a balance beam, and navigating various obstacles.
What’s Proprioception and What Role Does it Play in Cognitive Function?
Wikipedia defines proprioception as “the sense of the relative position of neighbouring parts of the human body and strength of effort being employed in movement.” Basically it happens like this: proprioceptive training places a big demand on our working memory as a result of continual changes within our environment and terrain. For our neuromuscular systems to continue to perform optimally, we’ve to challenge our brains and bodies with stimuli which can be unpredictable and could make us think and react immediately.
This might be anything from riding a skateboard psilo delic, bull riding, boxing, wrestling, or just walking on a curb. Dynamic challenges like this will make us consciously adapt our movements to the changing environment. Fighting techinques, dance, and gymnastics are great for proprioceptive enhancement, as they give movements which are uniquely different and therefore challenge and improve our cognitive abilities. Benefits include reduced threat of injury, increased stability, enhanced speed, quickness, and agility.
Proprioceptive Training and Injury
Proprioceptive training has also been demonstrated to assist in injury rehabilitation. Rehabilitation programs address three quantities of motor control: spinal reflexes, cognitive programming, and brain stem activity. These programs are designed to increase dynamic joint and functional stability.
Once we age, progressive cognitive decline is inevitable. Proprioceptive training has been shown to increase proprioceptive regeneration and cognitive demands in older adults. By performing challenging movements which can be unfamiliar to us, we continue to recruit and write new neurological patterns. Much like any modification to one’s routine, it is essential that exercises are performed carefully and in a controlled environment to make sure safety and prevent injury.
Techniques for Getting Started
So, allow it to be an indicate integrate new movements and exercises into your daily lifestyle by trying some of the methods mentioned previously, in addition to challenging yourself on a regular basis. Like, try putting on your pants and shoes without keeping anything, washing dishes using one leg, or practicing simple movements along with your eyes closed. A broad rule of thumb to consider is that if something becomes too easy or natural, you cease to challenge your neuromuscular system.