Proprioception, have you heard of it?

Basically it means to know where your body is in space; to be able to distinguish where each part of our body is and how to get it there quickly to be able to do just about everything. Our proprioceptive system helps us walk across the room without bumping into anything.  Knowing the meaning, things make sense to me now…….. For example, why my daughter looked at her feet when she first started riding her bike? Her head would be looking down at the pedals and she would watch her feet making the rotations. We would constantly be telling her to look straight ahead, don’t worry about your feet, just pedal! Now I understand that she needed to SEE her feet physically touching the pedals because her brain wasn’t giving her the feedback that she needed.

She no longer needs to look at her feet when she rides her bike. Her brain now gives her feet the appropriate feedback and she can feel where her feet are, if they are positioned on the pedal correctly, how much pressure she needs to exert to move the pedals and so on. This has been achieved with practice. Practice has sent signals through the nervous system to the part of the brain devoted to sensing that body part.

When a certain body part or movement is used repeatedly in a coordinated and mindful fashion, there are actual physical and observable changes in the part of the brain that controls that body part or movement. This is part of the reason why you get better at what you practice.

Source: bettermovement.org

It’s also the reason why many kids need to look at how they are holding their pencil, something that we take for granted. That’s why at Specialcise we have incorporated finger isolating exercises in our warm up.

Proprioception, a word I found difficult to pronounce and even more difficult to understand.

Maree McIntosh
exercise@specialcise.com
1Comment
  • Shaazlah Hafreth
    Posted at 17:13h, 17 February Reply

    Thats probably why Yusra would always look back at her feet when she was asked to kick,kick, kick in swimming! She, for some reason, always found it hard to kick in the water even though her lower body strength is pretty good.
    The instructor thought it was cute as she looked back at her kicking legs. After a while I found it irksome as it interfered with her swimming. But this makes sense now!

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