We’ve all experienced those “How the £&©< did I do that!?” moments (me more than most).
Maybe you found yourself tripping over your feet, knocking a glass flying, slamming the door on your fingers, watching your new iPhone fall towards the ground in slow-motion (again), or maybe even walking smack bang into a telephone pole.
These moments happen when you’re lacking proprioception – awareness of body position and movement in relation to your environment. Poor proprioception can make it really tough (and painful) to navigate through life.
The good news? You’re not doomed to be clumsy forever!
So let’s explore our “sixth sense” and how we can work to improve it.
Proprioception is the reason we’re able to move freely without consciously thinking about our environment.
Examples of proprioception in action include being able to step on the gas while weaving traffic, bounce a ball, do the Texas two-step, or pass a standard-issue sobriety test.
You CAN improve your proprioception and with increased awareness comes less chance of injury, and better control over your movements in whatever activities matter to you.
Now, what can you do to improve your proprioception?
Engage in as much novel, mindful, interesting, exploratory, curious, playful, pain free movement as possible. Find all the ways that your joints can move while lying, crawling, sitting and standing.
Work on balance and coordination exercises by putting yourself in awkward positions that challenge you. If you only work on linear movements (sitting, standing, squatting, etc.), you’re probably not going to be working on the things that are most challenging for you.
Probably the most important element of improving proprioception is to PAY ATTENTION. Being present in your body and paying attention to your movements and your surroundings means fewer accidents and greater success in learning new skills.