Have you ever tried to touch your finger to your nose with your eyes closed or managed to successfully make it down a flight of stairs in the dark? These tasks are doable thanks to proprioception. Proprioception is our awareness of our body in space, or the ability to sense stimuli arising within the body regarding position, motion, and equilibrium. Some would consider it our sixth sense.
Proprioception is what helps us balance, which is an extremely valuable skill-set when it comes to a long and healthy life. We believe that building your awareness of your body in space is a skill that will make you more agile for your daily tasks and challenges, ultimately making you a more durable athlete! Although many of us are able to execute daily movements that require proprioception without much worry, it would be beneficial to everyone to practice this skill to improve the quality of that movement in any given environment.
If you’re interested in improving your proprioception, the ground is a great place to start. The ground helps create a sensory rich experience that provides a high amount of biofeedback. By implementing novel movements on the ground, you are asking for a higher proprioceptive demand from your body. When this happens, you are able to challenge your nervous system and your mind, which then creates new neural connections.
Physical “play” is another great way to build this skill. Play is something that adults don’t do nearly enough because many of us have forgotten how to move our body without a given sequence. We begin to feel awkward or judgmental of ourselves if we don’t know exactly what to do. Every once in awhile we should aim to move for the act itself rather than for the outcome. When we allow ourselves to roll around and “play” we become more aware of physical movement and more aware of physical sensations. When we become more aware of sensations, we become more aware of emotions, more aware of thought, more aware of the specifics of thought!
Our challenge to you today is to use a few of these ground based movements in your workout. Once you become more comfortable with the ground, set a timer for 5 minutes and allow yourself to play! Use this time to come up with your own sequence and share it with our community.