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Proprioception: Developing Your Sixth Sense And Enhancing Your Physical Intelligence

Proprioception: Developing Your Sixth Sense And Enhancing Your Physical Intelligence

I’m often finding myself getting pissed off in public more and more these days for a number of reasons that revolve around the growing epidemic of laziness and the decrease of intelligence in our society. With the advent of technology people are becoming less and less intelligent both mentally and physically. Today I’m going to be addressing how this is happening and why most people are unaware of their sixth sense as a result of this societal epidemic.

Proprioception: Your Sixth Sense

You’re probably familiar with the 5 senses. You have the sense of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. However there is a sixth sense that we all have that I believe should be added on to the big 5…at least for the folks that work to hone it.

The sixth sense that I’m referring to has to do with proprioception, or proprioceptive awareness. Proprioception is defined as the unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli within the body itself.

Now based on this definition you can understand why I might get pissed when I have to walk through the shopping mall at times for Christmas and for birthdays. This is because I frequently feel like I’m the only one in the building that has a sense of spatial orientation in terms of where I am in relation to others because I am always spending the majority of the walk dodging and evading other people as they blindly come wandering into my space.

This goes beyond just being rude although rudeness does play a role. This is a sign that many people are not physically intelligent. There may be an argument to say that they aren’t mentally intelligent as well because the two go hand in hand. However, for the purpose of this piece I’m going to stick to addressing the physical intelligence aspect of the discussion.

Proprioception: The Lack Of Physical Intelligence

You see most people have become so immersed in life distractions through the availability of technology that their sense of awareness and coordination has diminished. The skill of having a handle on their surroundings is one that has gone by the wayside because they live inside the virtual world of their cell phones and small handheld devices.

Because they spend the majority of their days doing this rather than engaging in physical tasks to sharpen their physical skills and overall sense of awareness they end up diminishing in coordination, strength, skill, and quality of movement. This is because the lifestyle of society has changed with the cushy convenience and dependency on technology for everything.

As stated in the video this heightened sense also feeds one’s reaction time and their ability to feel where they are in relation to other people and other things. With the example of the defensive back this is how he is able to move and feel his way across the field of play without necessarily knowing what’s to come. He can both react and still effectively feel his way around obstacles he may encounter in his surroundings.

To hammer home another example of proprioception you can try this little experiment. The next time you go to a coffee shop, or out to lunch find someone in the room that is sitting across from you. They don’t necessarily have to be facing you. As a matter of fact they can be slightly turned away from your direction.

Now once you’ve found the person then without being a major league creeper lock your eyes on them and stare right at them. Don’t look away…just keep your eyes right on them. If you do this long enough depending on that person’s sense of awareness they will eventually realize that they are being watched and will turn to look in your direction. At this point it may be a good idea to not maintain the creep stare…now you can look away.

The point is that this is another example of proprioceptive awareness in an everyday setting. You can see how heightened the majority of the public may or may not be based on this little experiment. Feel fee to give it a try just don’t call me to come bail you out if you freak out a soccer mom.

In terms of training and enhancing your proprioceptive sense I’m big on having my students perform movements that require a more complex level of control and technique. On a large scale to me having optimal performance is about bridging the gap between strength and grace. This is why I’m big on challenging my students to perform movements that will initially challenge their coordination and skills.

You see your body has proprioceptors located throughout your system which can be found in muscles, tendons, and fibrous capsules in the joints. These proprioceptors are constantly giving feedback to your brain as to where you are in space and as you move and orient yourself the feedback changes.

Now on the surface this is one complex system and your brain has to be smart enough to process all of it. Additionally your electrical pathways have to be efficient enough to process all of this information so that you don’t end up aimlessly wandering out into the middle of the road to get pancaked by a dump truck.

Yet, this sort of aimless lack of awareness seems to be very common in today’s society. Once again people keep their faces buried into their cell phones and their bodies aren’t challenged to move and master movement in such a way that they have a natural feel of how to go about coordinating themselves in a relative environment.

Proprioception: The Takeaway

Don’t allow your physical intelligence to get stupid. Realize that being too dependent on technology and dumbing down your ability to problem solve is not a good thing. Take the time to engage in movements that challenge your coordination skills. Kettlebell cleans, rotational bodyweight movements, and medicine ball throws and catches can be utilized in an effective way to elevate both fitness and the development of your proprioceptive sixth sense!

I hope you enjoyed today’s post and if so then please don’t be shy about posting up in the comments below. Are you training to enhance your sixth sense? If so what are you doing to step up your game?

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I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

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