If you have ever been able to walk without looking at your feet or touch your nose with your eyes closed, you have experienced proprioception. Also known as kinesthesia, proprioception is the ability to sense and freely move your body and limbs within an external environment. Having this bodily awareness is important for everyday living and exercise performance.
Proprioception gives our bodies the ability to sense location, movements, and actions. It is the main reason we are all able to move freely without actually thinking about our environment. Proprioception is caused by a close relationship between your nervous system, soft tissues, and proprioceptors. These proprioceptors are specialized sensors located on nerve endings in your muscles, tendons, joints, skin, and inner ear. They deliver information relating to changes in movement, position, tension, force, and environment to your brain. As you move, these proprioceptors adjust and stabilize your body in reaction to what is going on in your external environment.
If you have problems moving in general, you may suffer from a reduced proprioception. Many things can potentially cause this and it can lead to poor balance and an increased risk of injury. Intoxication from alcohol or drugs may temporarily reduce your balance and proprioception. Recent or chronic injury, medical conditions, or simply getting older can also reduce proprioception. Incorporating proprioception exercises into your workout routine may help improve your proprioception. There are many at-home exercises that can help improve your balance, spatial awareness, and overall movement. In the most severe cases, you may need to work with a trained specialist first.
Proprioception is basically body awareness in a form of a continuous loop of feedback between the sensory receptors throughout your body and your nervous system. It plays an important role in everything you do. If you notice a decrease in proprioception, speak with a medical professional on how you can improve your motor skills, muscle strength, and balance.
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Article written by William Graves.