Have you ever wondered how you can sense joint movements and common position such as scratching the back of the head without looking in a mirror or climbing the staircase without having to look out at every staircase? This is what is known as proprioception. It can simply be put as the ability to detect and move a body part smoothly and accurately in an ensemble without looking.
Houglum (2001), defined proprioception as the capacity to convey a sense of position, subject analysis to this message, and react to it whether consciously or unconsciously to bring out the intended proper movement.
How Does Proprioception System Work?
Proprioception can metaphorically be referred to as the “sixth sense” since it is more than just a feeling of movement. It is a system that is composed of receptor nerves that are located in the muscles, in the joints and around joint ligaments. The receptors detect any tension or stretch and relay this information to the brain. The brain interprets the information and responds by sending signals to muscles to initiate either contraction or relaxation of muscles thus producing the desired movement.
Proprioceptors in the body handle control of several important activities such as coordination, balance, and nimbleness. By enhancing proprioception, patients can acquire the necessary skills that are vital for maintaining body balance. They can sharpen their agility such that, they can be able to reverse direction swiftly when it is needed to do so. They can also adjust coordination skills optimally so that they can execute physical activities precisely and accordingly.
How Can You Improve Proprioception?
You can improve proprioception through specific training and exercises. The sets of exercises are intended to improve coordination, agility, and balance. These practices include; static balance activities, dynamic balance activities, agility and coordination activities.
Static balance activities include; mini-squats, lunges, hip abduction, hip extension, calf-raises and flexion all which are intended to increase body balance
Dynamic balance activities include; use of a wobble board, use of a weighted ball and the use of bongo board that is and advanced balance training equipment. These activities are aimed at improving and amplifying the body balance.
Agility and Coordination activities include; cutting, jumping, twisting and pivoting all aimed at achieving articulate coordination and nimbleness. Dr. Overton, a Chiropractor located in Columbus, GA will also work with you on a personalized plan to help you in this area. For further reading, the Amercian Chiropractic Association has published a study on the benefits of Proprioception involving an ankle sprain.
What Are The Benefits of Having a Good Proprioceptive System?
Proprioception training lowers the risk of injury by teaching the body how to act appropriately in case of sudden change in the external environment. When a person is injured, there will be a deficit in the proprioceptive ability which can leave this person prone to re-injury, or gradually decrease their coordination in sporting activities. However, proprioceptive training can reduce chances of re-injury and compensate the loss caused by the injury. A good sense of proprioception is vital for preventing injuries while performing daily activities as well as when doing physical fitness exercises.
It is true that we all have a non-conscious sense of incarnation essential for timely neuromuscular coordination. Without this sense of accuracy and timing, the rate of injury will be much higher, and even the simplest movements will consume a lot of our cognitive energy. We should, therefore, strive to improve our proprioceptive sense if we want our stability, coordination and agility to be infallible.