In his 1856 journal, the great American philosopher and naturalist Henry David Thoreau wrote, “I love the winter, with its imprisonment and its cold, for it compels the prisoner to try new fields and resources.” Thoreau, a fearless explorer of inner and outer landscapes, welcomed opportunities to learn and expand his capabilities. As he frequently observed, winter can be a great teacher.
But when we think about typical winter sports of ice skating or snow skiing, it seems that winter may be a harsh time to attempt to develop new skills. But, at least for these sports, winter is where the action is!
When we work on developing new skills in sports or activities, we’re counting on our nerve system to perform its critical functions of command and control. These functions are required for effective training of muscles, tendons, and joints, so that these musculoskeletal structures can advance in adaptability and performance.
In addition to improving our musculoskeletal system, we may improve our winter exercise performance by additional training for the proprioceptive system1,2. Proprioception is your body’s awareness of its positioning in three-dimensional space. All joints contain numerous proprioceptors that relate information to and from the brain.
Your ability to balance effectively and make instantaneous biomechanical decisions depends on a well-trained proprioceptive system. Alternating standing on one leg for 15 seconds at a time is a basic proprioceptor-training exercise; balancing on one leg while skiing, skating or surfing is a more advanced and demanding use of the system.
As your body’s master system, your nerve system is responsible for coordinating all the physiological processes of all your body’s other systems. The interrelations among these complex activities must be addressed instantaneously and accurately. Regular chiropractic care helps ensure that your nerve system is free of nerve interference and operating at peak capacity. In this way, regular chiropractic care helps ensure optimal functioning of your musculoskeletal system. As a result, regular chiropractic care helps us advance in our exercise and sports activities, gain new skills, and enjoy long-term health and well-being.
Overall, winter exercise may provide a lot of enjoyment, with unexpected victories adding to one’s sense of personal fulfillment. With appropriate preparation, winter exercise may help pave the way for high levels of health and wellness throughout the year.
- Chang S, et al: Effects of 24-week Tai Chi exercise on the knee and ankle proprioception of older women. Res Sports Med 24(1):84-93, 2016
- El-Gohary TM, et al: Effect of proprioception cross training on repositioning accuracy and balance among healthy individuals. J Phys Ther Sci 28(11):3178-3182, 2016