Fast Hands, Fast Feet, Fast Brains

Fast Hands, Fast Feet, Fast Brains 

Watching this video, it looks like these CBFers are having fun playing some kind of ball game. But what’s really happening, whether they win or lose, is neuromuscular training.

Here are the four key components of neuromuscular performance that are developed in this spirited competition:

Motor control – Literally, the brain instructing the muscles to track the ball with the eyes, moving the body to intercept it, positioning the hand(s) to strike it.

Coordination – Not only do the right groups of muscles need fire to perform a task, but must also be sequenced to accomplish the goal, in this case aiming and striking a fast-moving object.

Proprioception – While the hands and eyes work in tandem, the player needs to maintain dynamic balance and spatial awareness.

Reaction time – Decisions must be made instantly and translated into instructions moving from the brain through the nervous system.

All of these are enhanced by this type of activity. It’s nice to make a good shot, or for your side to score, but most important is the effort, whether the result is perfect or not. In this video, everyone was a winner.

 

You, LeBron & Balance

 You, LeBron & Balance

A cornerstone of CBF’s approach to exercise is that fit older adults should train like athletes. When it comes to specific exercises, the difference between what’s an appropriate exercise for an older adult versus an athlete is just a matter of degree, not kind.

As CBFer’s know, we frequently perform exercises that challenge your balance, such as the one in the picture below. Notice a similarity between what this CBFer is doing and what basketball great LeBron James is doing here?

smtThe skills LaBron develops from his ‘bubble” regimen are yours as well.

If you want to get a real insight into why we do exercises like the one in the picture and others that challenge your balance, read this article from The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. It delves into important science related to balance for older adults.

The most important takeaway for you is that we sometimes get on unstable surfaces, like the Airex pads, to develop sensorimotor skills that enable what they call “automatic postural stabilization.” In simpler words, very rapid adjustments in the feet, ankles and torso to keep you upright.

Those skills are only developed by intentionally making it difficult to maintain balance. Your muscles, without you even thinking about it, must contract rapidly, which is what is happening when you shimmy and shake to maintain your balance. The goal isn’t cheap thrills, but to develop skills.

Like all skills, the more you practice, the better you get. Ask LeBron.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Sensorimotor Training can be characterized as a progressive balance training program using labile surfaces to elicit automatic postural stabilization.