To engage fully with your environment, you need to use all your senses… including a sixth one. We know all too well about the five senses – sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch but what about your sixth sense? Do you know what it is, how to stimulate it and how to take care of it?
Your sixth sense is proprioception – the sense of position and movement.
Proprioception is required to engage fully with your environment. Your proprioceptors enable you to perceive at an optimal level which enhances decision making and peak body performance as well as maximising mental output. Proprioceptors are important for the recreational exercise enthusiast to the budding athlete – young and old.
You use your nerve system to sense your world; the world around you. However, when it comes to being an athlete it’s vital to your success that you’re able to clearly sense the orientation of your body in your environment and to do that your proprioceptors play an extremely important role. It’s your proprioceptors that allow you to sense your environment and where you are in space, move freely, support your balance and it’s all done without you consciously thinking about it. Your proprioceptors work via a continuous feedback loop housed within your nerve system. It’s the feedback loop that tells your brain in what position you are in and what outside forces are acting on your body at any point in time.
Proprioception is required to engage fully with your environment. Excellent proprioceptor function enables you to;
1) Boost muscle output: increased input of information via proprioceptive nerves will increase your muscle output.
2) Optimal perception: to best understand and interpret your environment you need all your proprioceptors sending clear messages into your central nerve system. The clearer your input the more optimal your perception will be.
3) Maximise your thinking: proprioceptive input along with the five sensory inputs enables your brain, through enhanced perception, to improve your thinking.
4) Decision making: with optimal perception and maximised thinking you are able to make different and often better decisions and sharpen your focus. These are crucial factors for the budding athlete, professional athlete and the everyday person in life.
5) Enhance peak performance: enhanced decision making along with a boosted muscle output can lead to enhanced performance. If the messages from your proprioceptive nerves are optimal then you can enhance peak performance.
Let’s say you are out doing some exercise like running along a bitumen road beside a beach. As you run the road changes to sand. Your body senses the change and relays ‘the change’ to the brain. All via your proprioceptors. This enables you to adjust to the different terrain.
Here’s a test you can do at home…
To test yourself stand on one leg, look straight ahead at a wall and close your eyes. How stable are you? Do you know where you are in space? Are you wobbling? Remember proprioceptors are all about sensing your position and movement!
How do you nourish your proprioceptors?
Like anything in your body especially your nerve system eating organic, whole, seasonal foods will be of benefit. Such foods like fish, salmon, dark leafy greens, lentils, sea vegetables, almonds, avocados, eggs, broccoli, essential fats, and even some dark chocolate are going to be great for feeding your proprioceptors and your nerve system! We encourage you to stay away from grains to which the nerve system can have an inflammatory response.
How do you get excellent proprioception?
1) Get adjusted regularly by a qualified chiropractor. Chiropractors work directly with your nerve system for optimal function and performance.
2) Nourish your body with a variety of wonderful whole and organic foods full of micro and macro nutrients.
3) Hydrate yourself. Water is so vital to the nerve system and its ability to conduct its messages with speed. There is a reason the largest electrical current in the body – your nerve system – is housed in approximately 75% water!
4) Get moving exercise will enhance your proprioceptors. We walk a couple of times a week to enhance our proprioceptors. We walk the trails on the island which also lead us along the secluded beach tracks too. We make sure we walk along the small stone areas where it is hard to walk and balance creating a lot of stimulation for our proprioceptors. These types of walks are awesome to add in a couple of times a week to your normal exercise routine. Being on a flat road or path or tread mill in a gym will not stimulate your proprioceptors nearly as much as being outdoors in nature…and being barefoot adds even more stimulation!
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Since 1990 Drs Randall & Sarah Farrant have been global mentors to thousands of individuals, families, health professionals, celebrities and sporting personalities. They have facilitated and inspired people to live a vitalistic life.