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Proprioception is the body's ability to assess where it is in order to maintain balance when standing, moving or making efforts.
Proprioception is also called kinesthesia and is what allows you to walk without thinking about the next step or touch your nose with your eyes closed, for example.
Proprioception is possible because there are proprioceptors, which are small sensitive cells, which are located in muscles, tendons and joints, and which send information to the central nervous system, in order to maintain the correct position, whether stopped or in motion. movement.
What is proprioception for
Proprioception is very important to maintain body balance, along with the vestibular system, which is inside the ear, and the visual system.
When the proprioceptive system is not properly stimulated, there is a greater risk of falls and injuries. Therefore, proprioception can be stimulated by anyone throughout life to avoid accidents, but it is also usually part of the training of athletes, as well as rehabilitation in cases of trauma-orthopedics.
Exercises to train proprioception
Proprioceptive exercises are especially indicated when there is an injury to the joint, muscles and/or ligaments and, therefore, they must be guided by a physical therapist to adapt the exercises to the needs of each person.
However, some of the most used proprioceptive exercises include:
- Walk in a straight line for 10 meters, with one foot in front of the other;
- Walk for 10 meters on different types of surfaces, such as floor, mat or pillow;
- Walking in a straight line using only the toes, heels, side or inside edge of the foot, interspersed;
- The therapist stands behind the person and asks them to stand on one foot and pass the ball backwards, rotating only the trunk;
- Do 3 to 5 squats with just 1 foot on the floor, arms extended in front, and then with eyes closed;
- Standing on a rounded surface, such as a half-deflated ball or rocker, for example;
- Stand on one foot on an unstable surface such as a rocker or a deflated ball and draw a circle in the air;
- Jump on the trampoline, lifting one knee at a time;
- Standing on the rocker, close your eyes while the therapist pushes the person off balance and they cannot lose their balance;
- On an unstable surface, play ball with the therapist, without unbalancing.
These exercises can be performed daily for about 10 to 20 minutes as long as they do not cause pain. Placing a cold water pack on the affected area can be helpful in decreasing pain and swelling that may appear after training.