What is Proprioception and Why Does it Matter?Nov 20, 2020
Written by Brian Cheah PT, DPT
Athletes are always striving to improve and be at the top of their game. One of the most important, and sometimes underrated, ways a person can improve athletic performance is by improving proprioception. Even if you're not an athlete, improving proprioception is still an important component of staying fit and avoiding injuries by improving reaction times and balance.
SO, WHAT IS PROPRIOCEPTION?
The simple definition: Proprioception is the awareness of where your body is in space.
It allows you to know the location, actions, and movements of your body. Proprioception encompasses a complex network of sensations, including perception of joint position and movement, muscle force, and effort. These sensations arise from the information going into and out of the brain. It allows us to perceive our limb position, force, heaviness, and stiffness. It can also be combined with other senses to locate external objects and react to those objects. Proprioception is a key component to how we move and control movement.
Examples of Proprioception at work:
- Passing a basketball or shooting without having to look at your hand
- Landing on two feet
- Moving quickly to dodge a player coming at you
- Correcting yourself when losing balance
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
This is important for virtually everything that you do in your sport! It helps control your body movements. Without it, even simple tasks such as squatting and walking would become difficult. Better proprioception allows for more efficient changes in direction, landing ability, and your movement becomes more efficient and powerful. It will give you better control over your body so that you can move quickly, accelerate, decelerate, balance, etc.
HOW TO IMPROVE PROPRIOCEPTION:
The single leg balance is a simple way to start improving proprioception.
Add a little more difficulty to these exercises when you're ready to continue to improve proprioception.
- Single Leg Balance with Eyes closed
- Balancing on uneven surfaces
For more tips and information on how to improve proprioception request an appointment with one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy today!
Brian Cheah is a Doctor of Physical Therapy. He first became interested in physical therapy because of his own rehab following a serious sports injury. Sports have always been an integral part of his life. Growing up, he loved playing basketball and football. Although his injury caused a setback to his sports career, he walked away from the experience with a new love for the human body and its ability to heal and grow. At Evergreen he specializes in working with sports, orthopedic, and pediatric patients.
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