Proprioception: That Hard-to-Pronounce Sixth Sense Your Trainer (Probably) Didn’t Mention
Every day, you use your body’s entire sensory map for movement, balance, and coordination.
You might not realize it, but something called proprioception controls your movements. But what is proprioception?
A Simple Journey Through Space
It’s a subconscious bodily process, always telling your brain your body's exact position. Proprioception shows up when you work out, when you're typing without looking at the keyboard, and when you try to walk in a straight line if you’ve had too many glasses of wine.
To better understand proprioception, gently close your eyes. Now, raise a finger to your nose.
That’s healthy proprioception.
Your Body’s Balancing Act
We want you to consider what happens if your sense of proprioception is impaired. Your proprioception breaks down through persistent pain, age, and injuries. Without rehabilitation, your body’s crucial sensory communication processes become interrupted, making you prone to increased pain, decreased coordination, and reinjury.
Even with well-functioning proprioception, we encourage you to maintain it by incorporating easy exercise modifications into your workouts. Here’s a fun and simple way to practice:
- Pick your favorite exercise (say, lunges)
- Find a safe location
- Close your eyes
- Perform the exercise
Let’s back up a bit and explain why eliminating visual input is important for proprioception training. Imagine a gymnast flipping on a balance beam. Because he can’t always see where his body will land, he reduces his dependence on his vision and uses proprioception to guide his body through space. If he spent too much time looking for the balance beam, he’d become uncoordinated and possibly suffer a nasty fall. We like to call this Mindful Motion1 since he's fully aware of his body and engaging in purposeful movement.
His routine might seem effortless, but really his brain is sending and receiving thousands of messages via his nervous system to command his every move. If those signals are interrupted, his entire body becomes unbalanced and uncoordinated - that is true for us too. The decreased brain-body communication impairs our ability for fluid movement.
If you’re looking to elevate your proprioception, try using the WAV. As your body maintains its balance against the WAV’s subtle movements, it sets off a whole-body reaction, stimulating your sensory receptors to sharpen this critical sixth sense. Our goal is to help you gain new insights into your own body’s unique positioning, posture, strength, and abilities, without leaving you sore, fatigued, or injured.
1. Exercise to engage in Mindful Motion is part of the core philosphy of the uniquely designed WAV movement training programs.