April 13, 2024

Our Body’s Internal GPS – Building and Strengthening Our Balance And Agility

Life in our neck of the woods has been a bit crazy this week! Uniquely heavy rains followed by a series of mildish earthquakes and an eclipse. Whoa!

These weather-related curve balls are a stark reminder that everything we do in life requires balance and agility. The more balanced our approach in handling the crisis at hand, and the more agile we are in dealing with it, the more resilient we become – and the happier we can be overall.

Balance is all about keeping all the important parts of our life in a steady state. It’s not about having everything perfectly equal but finding a rhythm that keeps us energized and fulfilled.
Agility is our ability to adapt and move with the unexpected. Life throws curveballs, both mental and physical. With agility, we can re-adjust our approach, find new solutions, and keep moving forward. We practice this agility by staying mentally flexible and being comfortable with change.

Likewise, being able to maintain balance and agility in our physical movements is vital to an adventurous, active, vibrant, and happier life – longer.

Whether competing at pickle ball, hiking on family trips, or navigating slippery sidewalks, maintaining balance and agility allows us to move smoothly and with more confidence. Even more importantly, it prevents injury.

Preventing a fall might seem like a simple reflex, but it’s actually an impressive feat. When we trip, our body activates its internal GPS, which sets off an array of complex reactions to keep us upright:
Here’s a breakdown:

The Initial Trip:  Our sensory systems, especially vision and the inner ear (vestibular system), detect the sudden shift in balance. This could be caused by a misplaced foot, a loose rug, or uneven ground.

Information Overload:  The sensory information rushes to the brainstem, a vital area at the base of the brain responsible for reflexes.

Rapid Response: The brainstem interprets the sensory data and instantly triggers corrective actions. It sends signals to various muscle groups through the spinal cord.

Muscle Teamwork:  Multiple muscle groups react simultaneously. Ankles and leg muscles contract to adjust body position and regain balance. Arms might instinctively reach out for support, and core muscles tighten to stabilize the torso.

Postural Adjustments:  Based on the severity of the trip, the body might take various corrective actions. This could involve a small shift in weight, a quick step to regain balance, or even an outstretched hand to break a fall.

Constant Monitoring:  Throughout this process, the sensory systems keep sending updates to the brain. The brain continuously adjusts the muscle activation until balance is restored.

This entire sequence happens in a fraction of a second, showcasing the amazing coordination between our nervous system, muscles, and sensory organs.

It’s Important to Note:

  • This process becomes less efficient with age, illness, or certain medications. This can increase the risk of falls.
  • Regular exercise (Mojo!) and activities that improve balance and agility can help maintain our ability to react quickly and prevent falls.

Do you sometimes feel awkward making split-second decisions while mimicking someone else’s moves AND challenging your heart rate? 

Of course, you do.
It’s not easy.
That’s why it is so darn good for you.

Mojo is a fantastic way to improve both balance and agility.
Here’s why:

Balance Benefits:

  • Quick Footwork: Mojo routines often involve split-second changes in direction and footwork. This constant adjustment challenges our body to maintain stability, strengthening the muscles and connections crucial for balance.
  • Multitasking: Following dance moves also requires coordinating different parts of our body simultaneously. This mental focus translates to better control over our body position and improves our ability to react quickly to maintain balance.
  • Variety of Movements: Mojo routines also require a wide range of movements, from shuffling to lunges to jumps. This exposes our body to different challenges, improving its ability to adapt and stay balanced in various situations.

Agility Benefits:

  • Rapid Transitions: HIIT workouts alternate between high-intensity bursts and recovery periods. These rapid transitions require our body to react quickly and adjust to changing demands, enhancing agility.
  • Improved Coordination: Dance routines require precise coordination between our brain, eyes, and muscles. HIIT dance builds these connections, making us more nimble and adaptable to sudden movements.
  • Spatial Awareness: Learning dance moves also improves our awareness of our body’s position in space. This translates to more control and the ability to navigate around obstacles or adjust our movements on the fly, both crucial aspects of agility.

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