Conditioning Cognitive Function
In life, sometimes it is easy to reduce sight of the important things. Exercise isn’t any different and it’s one of those missing links that make up the backbone of our ability to work optimally.
Our Brains and Bodies are Linked
Recent studies from the Department of Psychology at the University of North Florida* show that people can increase our working memory around fifty percent by performing movements and exercises like running barefoot, carrying large and/or awkward objects (farmer’s walk), walking or crawling on a balance beam, and navigating various obstacles.
What’s Proprioception and What Role Does it Play in Cognitive Function?
Wikipedia defines proprioception as “the sense of the relative position of neighbouring elements of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement.” Basically it happens such as this: proprioceptive training places a big demand on our working memory as a result of continual changes within our environment and terrain. For our neuromuscular systems to carry on to execute optimally, we have to challenge our brains and bodies with stimuli which can be unpredictable and can make us think and react immediately.
This might be anything from riding a skateboard psilo delic, bull riding, boxing, wrestling, or simply walking on a curb. Dynamic challenges like this will make us consciously adapt our movements to the changing environment. Fighting techinques, dance, and gymnastics are typical perfect for proprioceptive enhancement, as they offer movements which are uniquely different and therefore challenge and improve our cognitive abilities. Benefits include reduced threat of injury, increased stability, enhanced speed, quickness, and agility.
Proprioceptive Training and Injury
Proprioceptive training has already been demonstrated to aid in injury rehabilitation. Rehabilitation programs address three quantities of motor control: spinal reflexes, cognitive programming, and brain stem activity. These programs are made to increase dynamic joint and functional stability.
Even as we age, progressive cognitive decline is inevitable. Proprioceptive training has been shown to boost proprioceptive regeneration and cognitive demands in older adults. By performing challenging movements which can be unfamiliar to us, we continue to recruit and write new neurological patterns. Much like any modification to one’s routine, it is important that exercises are performed carefully and in a controlled environment to ensure safety and prevent injury.
Tips for Getting Started
So, make it an indicate integrate new movements and exercises into your daily lifestyle by trying a number of the methods mentioned previously, along with challenging yourself on a regular basis. For instance, try putting on your pants and shoes without holding onto anything, washing dishes on a single leg, or practicing simple movements with your eyes closed. A broad principle to consider is that when something becomes too easy or natural, you cease to challenge your neuromuscular system.