What is the Mind-Body Connection?

Well, it’s scientific name is proprioception.
Proprioception is the ability of our mind and body to communicate and understand where our body is in space.
This capacity is essential when we exercise or when we’re doing other activities during the day.
The mind can connect with your body and recruit muscles to perform an exercise or movement.

Proprioception keeps track of and controls the different parts of the body.
For example, we’re able to move our hand when we wish to pick up a glass with little effort. We think about picking up the glass, and then like magic, our hand moves to do just that.
That’s proprioception, our capacity to employ the muscles of our body to act.

How does this affect healthy exercise habits?

For the most part, this system works well and happens naturally, without mental effort. Unfortunately, there are times when it doesn’t work so well. Incorrect exercise technique and form can lead to the use of the wrong muscles.
Poor posture and contraction of muscles from chronic stress can also cause problems with this natural system.
In addition, sitting for long hours, especially the forward bend of the neck when we’re using our mobile devices can be detrimental.

Over time, the mind builds connections with the wrong muscles. Or the muscles become weak and ineffectual.
The result is an injury or not experiencing the effects we’d like from our diligent efforts with exercise. For instance, people can report knee pain from doing lunges, minimal changes in their gluteal muscles from endless squats, or even lower back pain and no change in upper body strength from bent-over rows.

Using mindful awareness in exercise

The way around this is to bring our mental focus and awareness to the appropriate muscles required for an exercise or movement. This mental focus involves being aware or mindful of the muscles needed to perform an exercise movement – a sense of feeling the correct muscles working. We need to make that mind-body connection with the muscles required for a particular exercise movement.
A great way of achieving this is with activation activities, specific movements performed at the beginning of a workout.
These exercises “switch on” the muscles that need to work.
And relax all the other muscles.
They retrain our minds to make connections with the appropriate muscles for the job at hand.

With activation, you’re focusing on FEELING the right muscles working and establishing that mind-body connection (proprioception).                                                                                                                                                                                    Once you’ve got that mind-body thing happening, you’ll have better automatic recruitment of muscles.
When it comes to the workout, you’ll be using the right muscles for each move.

Over time, the risk of injury diminishes, and you’ll get great results: to your fitness, muscle strength, tone, and endurance. These improvements do wonders for your motivation to keep exercising.