Have you ever wondered why your friends can dance so much better than you? Or why you sometimes trip over your own feet? Do they throw you things and you always drop them? It's most likely because you have reduced proprioception.
Proprioception is your awareness of your own body and movements. Improving your proprioception can help improve your balance, coordination, and make every day tasks easier. It could even improve your confidence and mental health as you will feel more at home in your own body and more in control of your life.
So do you want to be able to execute an awesome catch when your friend throws you something or move with more confidence? Try the following exercises to improve your proprioception and see if it could help improve other areas of your life too.
Perform exercises and daily tasks with your eyes closed
Have you ever noticed that balancing on one leg is much harder when you close your eyes? When you close your eyes, you lose the visual cues that your brain is used to so it has to work harder to balance. With your eyes closed, you are forced to become more attuned to your surroundings and you will be able to practise controlling your body and your movements.
If you practise daily tasks with your eyes closed (sensible options only please, no cutting or chopping with sharp knives in the kitchen!) you will find that your brain can connect more closely to your muscles and you will be able to improve your coordination and proprioception.
Learn a dance routine or try a group exercise class
Dancing is one of the best ways to improve your coordination and proprioception because it involves the entire body and requires the brain to coordinate every muscle group at once in a required sequence. If you think you have two left feet, try learning and practising a specific dance routine every day – you'll be surprised how quickly you improve!
Similarly, participating in a group exercise class can have a similar effect as you will be copying what the instructor is doing and commanding your body to move in the same way. This is great practice for improving your coordination and you'll be getting super fit at the same time!
Practise catching with one hand
We all have a dominant and less dominant side. It can be useful to improve the coordination and abilities of the less dominant side, such as practising catching with your left hand if your right-handed (and vice versa). Catching a ball with one hand specifically improves your hand-eye coordination which refers to the way your hands react to what your eyes see. If you miss the ball, it might be because you are closing your fingers too fast or not fast enough. By practising this exercise, you can train your hands and eyes to work together better and in turn improve your proprioception and hand-eye coordination.