Proprioception is achieved through muscles, ligaments and joint actions using messages that are continuously sent through the central nervous system [CNS].
The CNS then relays information to the rest of the body ‘telling’ it how to react and with what amount of tension/action.
Ssome of these instructions go to the brain, where more often than not they acted on unconsciously, whilst others go to the spinal cord, where they are acted on automatically.
Proprioceptors are basically ‘sensors’ that reside within muscles, joints and ligaments. These respond to pressure, stretch and tension and are key im iniating what is known as the stretch reflex.
Proprioception is the capacity of the body to determine where all of its parts are positioned at any given time, and it plays an important role in the world of sports especially athletics and jumping…..
Think of it as a subconscious internal computer software programme that complements your conscious effort to stabilize everything, whether you’re moving or standing still. It triggers muscles to contract and relax to fit the situation.
You don’t have to think about it because your ‘internal software’ is reacting to the situation and sending instant messages to help your body make the necessary adjustments. Proprioception is also a factor in speed and direction of movement. Proprioception helps us perform better in sports and avoid injuries. Losing it because of an injury or lack of use requires a period of re-training to get it back.
There’s a fine line between proprioception and kinaesthetic awareness. Although some people use the terms interchangeably, there is a difference.
Kinaesthetic awareness is a conscious effort to react to the situation, while proprioception is an unconscious or subconscious process.
The two mechanisms work together to allow a smooth, efficient, and safe platform for movement and athletic performance. For example, a long jumper whose body acts subconsciously (proprioception) to stay tall on the runway while the jumper’s mind (kinaesthetic awareness) processes data regarding environmental issues [wind, rain, surface conditions] and anything else he or she needs to make necessary limb adjustments when running at high speeds to the take-off board….
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