Proprioceptive exercises are great for anyone who has suffered an injury. Particularly if the injury has led to a loss of strength or instability. Instability or a lack of balance can also be improved through proprioceptive exercises.
We sometimes do not even realise we have a weakness in the injured muscle or joint because we can train pretty much as normal. However, we do not realise that while our strength may be unaffected, our stability is. Using proprioceptive exercises can recover lost stability or even gain more.
What are proprioceptive exercises?RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Proprioception is the body’s ability to move without wobbling or stumbling. It lets us know where our limbs are in the right place without having to look. The information is collected by nerve receptors (proprioceptors).
Your balance and stability can be impaired when joints are injured. Sprains or any muscle injury can both lead to instability in that part of the body.
When you lose proprioception after a sprain, you may experience an unstable sensation in that joint. Your joint may be restricted in its movement, hurt or feel weak. You will also be prone to more injury.
Proprioceptors in everyday life
Proprioceptors are important in everyday movements. Going up or down stairs, avoiding a stumble on uneven ground or side-stepping as someone walks towards you.
In sport, proprioception is vital for good performance and to minimise the risk of injury.
It is important to incorporate proprioceptive exercises into your workout. Whether you are an athlete, a fitness addict or just someone trying to get a bit fitter, you will benefit from adding proprioceptive exercises into your routine.
Training for stability helps to improve strength, coordination, balance and reaction time. Proprioceptive exercises are essential in preventing injuries. These exercises force the nervous system to work, improving your coordination. This is important in the movements that occur in individual and team sports.
Proprioceptive exercises are based on imbalance. Exercises include quick changes of direction, barefoot exercises on a variety of surfaces, turns and jumps. In fact, any movement that makes the joints move in a different way to usual.
A routine that includes proprioceptive exercises can be very active, with a lot of variety. It is important that you take into account your present state of fitness. If you attempt too many twists and turns you may place too much strain on your joints. The difficulty of the proprioceptive exercises should match the fitness and ability level of the person doing the exercise.
Equipment for proprioceptive exercises includes any accessories presenting a challenge to the stability of the patient or athlete. Fitball, BOSU balance trainer, balance ball kits, medicine balls, balance boards, wobble boards, agility ladder, foam rollers, slide board….
Some easy proprioceptive exercises
- Tiptoe, walk on your heels (best barefoot)
- Single leg squats (great strength exercise)
- Side plank
- Balance on one leg
The possibilities are endless and you can adapt the training to meet your specific needs.
(pictures: suturi, fineartamerica, livinthefitlife)