Proprioception is a very fancy word, and an equally fancy ability our brain uses every moment of every day without us being aware of it.  It is an ability that is needed to be able to do even the smallest task, but what exactly is proprioception?

To put it simply, proprioception is our “Sixth Sense.”

It is the way our brain works out where and what our body is doing at any given moment.  Your brain is receiving information from your five senses all the time, and is then making small adjustments to your posture or movement to “fine-tune” things.  An example of proprioception is to stand on one foot – you immediately give a bit of a wobble, but then you start to right yourself.  Once you’ve got the hang of this, close your eyes.  You start to wobble again, but again you right yourself.  Now really challenge yourself and while standing on one leg with your eyes closed touch the tip of your nose with your fingertips, first right, then left. There goes the wobble but once again if you keep practicing your balance will come on again.

That is Proprioception working at its finest.

Now. Why is proprioception so important you ask?  Proprioception makes it possible to walk or run without consciously thinking about where to put your foot, drive without thinking about where your arms should be, and fine-tune your tennis serve over time.  Many factors impact our proprioception including injury, illness, fatigue, and ageing.  Can we train proprioception?  Of course!!!

Challenge yourself to a little bit of incidental exercise:  While you are brushing your teeth, waiting for the kettle to boil, waiting for a friend to get a coffee. . .   Try standing on one foot for as long as you can without your trunk wobbling all over the place.  It is going to be a challenge at first and you may need a little bit of practice, but I promise you it will be worth it!  Every little bit of practice helps keep you up on your feet and moving about.

If you have any questions about proprioception, drop us an email by clicking here.  If you think your proprioception might be a little “off” and you’re looking for some expert help for balance, strength or posture, book in with one of our experienced physiotherapists by calling us on 6056 6616.

And make sure to drop in and tell us about your progress with my little exercise!

Emma.