Jenn Hicks

Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

Reflexive Conditioning: Keep your brain and body healthy

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

 

What is Reflexive Conditioning?

One of the many unique parts of a MoveIT class is that reflexive conditioning is offered.

Simply defined, reflexive conditioning is defined as the ability to respond without thinking. Reflexive muscular movement is involuntary and happens in response to a sensory stimulus.

dancing brain

What are Reflexive Muscular Movements?

We have all experienced reflexive muscular movement – it happens when the doctor hits the patella (knee) with an anvil and the lower leg extends forward, or when the optometrist shines a light into your eyes and your pupils constrict. Reflexes help keep us safe  by protecting us from danger, moving our bodies, helping us see and more.

 

Why do we need to condition our reflexes?

Why is it important to condition our reflexive muscular system? At a high level, reflexive conditioning helps us to optimize the nervous system by stimulating a very specific neuromuscular function. By training our reflexes, we are enhancing the health and responsiveness of our nervous systems so that they can react (and react quickly) as necessary.

More specifically, when our body can respond without thinking, we are safer.  For example, when we trip and fall, reflexes automatically direct our hands and arms to reach out and break the fall. Likewise, reflexive muscles will contract throughout our body to minimize injury from the fall.

 

Aging and reflexive muscular changes

As we age our brain and nervous systems change. We can lose nerve cells and weight (atrophy) and our nerve cells may begin to send messages more slowly than in the past. These changes in our nerves can affect our senses or lead to reduced/lost reflexes. This leads to problems with movement and safety. Take the example of touching a hot stove – as we age, it could take longer for our reflexive response to kick in and move our hand away. The outcome? What could be a pretty serious burn.

 

Modify and fine-tune your muscular reflexive actions

How? By coming to MoveIT!

Move IT interval trainingDid you know you can speed up nerve conduction (transmission of message delivery) through repetition and practice? You can! That’s how soccer players get good at kicking – they keep on practicing; training what could be considered reflexive (the patellar reflex) and eventually making it become under conscious control.

Likewise, in MoveIT we are training all kinds of reflexive movements (e.g.,  “startle” response, emotional responses, twitching, core reflexes, ocular reflexes & more).  We can train these reflexes to be available for us when we leave MoveIT class and live our lives. Through reflexive training (along with aerobic, anaerobic and voluntary conditioning), we can keep our nervous systems healthy by doing all the new movements that come up in class and by performing them in a diverse order.

 

Now you have more reasons to come to MoveIT – check out my schedule here!

 

(Thanks to my Nia friends Heather Umberger and Lisle Jefferies Hendrickson as well as Nia co-founder Debbie Rosas for helping me wrap my head around this important concept of “reflexive conditioning”!)

Move IT Apprenticeship

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

Nia

 

I’m 3 weeks into my 12 week Move IT Apprenticeship and am so enjoying it! I’m still a little shocked that Interval Training could be so body-friendly and fun!

Move IT is appealing to my love of physical challenge and is pushing me to learn and expand my somatic (body) knowledge. The bonus? Getting to know my body, mind, emotions and spirit better!

I’m learning about the benefits of interval training in terms of healthy aging. New research is showing that interval training (short bouts of intense activity) has positive effects on cellular metabolism which helps build energy and muscle. Exciting, right?! You can read more about that here.

Part of the apprenticeship is learning about anatomy through this gem of a resource – The Anatomy Colouring Book by Wynn Kapit. Seeing the bones and layers of muscles in colour makes me feel like I’m looking at works of art! I feel a sense of awe thinking about how magnificent our bodies are and am so grateful that Nia and Move IT respect the sacredness of that.

Learning about Anatomy
Here’s a video of me after having practiced a Move IT session – I like to Move IT, Move IT!

After a Move IT training session, I feel so strong, relaxed and invigorated! I have this “cleansed” and energized feeling that is so so satisfying. 

The EXCITEMENT I feel after a Move IT Practice Session from jennifer hicks on Vimeo.

I have some preliminary plans in place for a Move IT class to begin this summer at U of T (Thursdays at 12:10pm) and am working towards bringing this special program elsewhere.

I hope you’ll join me!

Here’s what Lorella had to say about her first Move IT experience!

Lorella loves Move IT! from jennifer hicks on Vimeo.