Jenn Hicks

Posts Tagged ‘dance fitness’

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”!)

Get your hands on these moves!

Friday, July 14th, 2017

The ENTIRE body moves in Nia and MoveIT classes

When people talk about fitness, they usually discuss things like cardiovascular conditioning, strength training and stretching. Not hands and fingers.

In Nia and MoveIT, we talk about all those things and more as being important to one’s overall fitness. One of the many things that distinguishes Nia and MoveIT from other fitness practices is our focus on the ENTIRE body (as well as the mind, emotions and spirit). No muscle or joint is left out of our Nia/MoveIT practice!

Unlike many other practices, we condition not just arms and legs, but also the head, the hands, the fingers and the feet.

Nia moves include hands and fingers

Nia Technique Hand and Finger Movements (Hands)Condition the hands and fingers? Yes!

Why wouldn’t we move the hands and fingers? They are vital to our everyday activity and are the most active part of our upper bodies! Our hands and fingers perform an extraordinary number of fine-motor movements every day so we need to take care of them. We need to move all the complex and intricate parts of the hands and fingers so that our tendons, bones, tissues and nerves remain healthy and allow us to pick up our cup of coffee, wash dishes, write, type and so much more.

Benefits of hand and finger moves

In fact, the flexibility, agility, mobility, strength and stability of the hands and fingers are so important that we have 7 different hand moves and 8 different finger moves in Nia/MoveIT! By using these moves we not only keep the hands and fingers healthy, but we also get these benefits:

  • increases brain activity
  • challenges the vestibular system
  • keeps the wrist joint mobileNia Technique Hand and Finger Movements (Hands)
  • builds strength in the arms and shoulders
  • integrates upper and lower body
  • helps develop greater body awareness
  • allows us to creatively express ourselves
  • moves tension away from the neck and shoulders and away from the hands
  • releases stress
  • helps develop quick reactions

Here are some “handy” videos of the moves

Keep on moving your whole body and practice the Nia/MoveIT hand and finger techniques with Laurie Bass, Nia Technique Trainer!