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November 2018 Issue
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Find your space

Photo: Tony Gazely
Improving your proprioception will help your balance and tramping.

Proprioception is your ability to feel how your body is positioned relative to space and the other parts of your body as you move. It makes it possible to walk through the hut in the dark or touch your finger to your nose with your eyes closed.

When you lose your balance, proprioception helps your body make adjustments so you can either regain your balance or get ready to fall.

You don’t have to practise falling to improve your proprioception. If you close your eyes in a stable position, you can make small changes in your body to control your stability.

Try this experiment: Start in an easy yoga pose (pictured) and then close your eyes. Closing your eyes will challenge your balance. You will have to feel your body’s position and make adjustments to keep your balance.

Here’s how:

1. Start with hands on hips

2. Step your left foot back and turn left toes out to about a 45-degree angle

3. Toes on your right foot are straight ahead

4. Keep back leg straight, push down through back heel

5. Slowly bend front knee – the knee goes in a straight line following the direction of the right foot

6. Close your eyes – notice the small adjustments you make with your feet and legs to keep your balance

7. For a challenge, reach right arm forward and left arm back, palms facing down – notice if you have to make more adjustments to balance

As you learn to make those small adjustments, you improve your proprioception and your balance overall.

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