Are You Honing Your Sixth Sense?
By: Brandon Richey, B.S., CSCS
Owner: Brandon Richey Fitness
With the advent of technology people are becoming less and less intelligent both mentally and physically in this modern era. In this particular article I’m going to be addressing how this is happening and why most people are unaware of their sixth sense as a result of this societal epidemic. If you are looking to learn something interesting today, then continue reading on so that you can put this awesome information into practice for yourself.
You Have a Sixth Sense
As you may, or may not know you’re probably familiar with the fact that most able bodied individuals possess 5 different senses. Breaking it all down you have the sense of sight, the sense of hearing, the sense of smell, the sense of taste, and the sense of touch. However, there is actually a sixth sense that we all have that I believe should be added onto the big 5…at least for the folks that work to hone and sharpen it on a daily basis.
The sixth sense that I’m referring to has to do with the sense of proprioception, or also referred to as proprioceptive awareness. Basically the term proprioception is defined as the unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli within the body itself.
Now based on this very definition most anyone can understand why I might get pissed when I have to walk through the shopping malls at times for Christmas and for birthdays…especially knowing that this particular sense has been dumbed down to the degree that it has in our modern society.
This is the case because I frequently feel like I’m the only one in the building that has a sense of spatial orientation in terms of where I am in relation to other people. This is because I feel like I am always spending the majority of the walk dodging and evading other people as they blindly come wandering into my space while being aware of nothing else other than their cell phone.
Initially I would just chalk this up to rude and inconsiderate behavior. However, after some time the strength coach in me quickly came to realize that this goes beyond just being rude although rudeness does have a role in this problem.
I was steadily able to observe that this is a sign that many people are just not physically intelligent. There may be an argument to say that they aren’t mentally intelligent as well because the two can frequently go hand in hand. However, for the purpose of this article I’m going to stick to addressing the physical intelligence aspect of the discussion.
The Reason Physical Intelligence Is Diminishing
You see most people have allowed themselves to become so immersed in life distractions through the availability of technology that their sense of awareness and coordination has significantly diminished. The skill and natural state of having a handle on their environment is one that has gone by the wayside because they live inside the artificial world of their cell phones and the virtual drama filled world of social media.
Since they spend the majority of their days doing this rather than engaging in physical tasks to sharpen their physical skills and overall sense of awareness they end up diminishing in coordination, strength, skill, and quality of movement. This has negatively impacted society as it has changed with the cushy convenience and dependency on technology for everything.
As I pointed out in the video this heightened sense also feeds one’s reaction time and their ability to feel where they are in relation to other people and other things. With the example of the football player this is how he is able to move and feel his way across the field of play without necessarily knowing what’s behind him and where the play is leading him in the process. In this scenario he can both react and still effectively feel his way around obstacles he may encounter within a given play from the opposition.
To communicate another cool example of proprioception you can try the following little fun experiment when you get an opportunity. The next time you go to a coffee shop, or out to lunch find someone in the room that is sitting across from you. They don’t necessarily have to be facing directly at you. As a matter of fact, they can be slightly facing away from your direction, or even be sitting on the other side of the room.
Once you’ve found the person then without being a major league creeper lock your eyes on them and stare right at them. That’s right, stare them down and don’t look away…just keep your eyes right on them for as long as it takes. I already know what you’re thinking…so how long is that?
Well if you do this long enough depending on that person’s sense of awareness they will eventually realize that they are being watched and they will turn to look in your direction. At this point it may be a good idea to not maintain the creep stare…now you can look away.
The point of this exercise is that this is another example of how proprioceptive awareness works in an everyday setting. With this simple little exercise, you can see how heightened the majority of the public may or may not be based on the outcome of this little experiment. Now feel free to go and give this one a try…just don’t come calling me to come bail you out if you freak out some soccer mom when trying to engage in this little experiment on situational awareness.
In terms of training and enhancing proprioceptive awareness, I’m a big proponent of having my students work towards progressing up to perform movements that require a more complex level of control and technique. In my professional opinion having optimal performance is about creating training scenarios in order to bridge the gap between strength and grace. This is why I’m also big on challenging my students to perform movements and drills that will initially challenge their coordination, skills, and reaction time.
Your body has proprioceptors located throughout your system which can be found in muscles, tendons, and fibrous capsules in the joints. These proprioceptors are constantly giving feedback to your brain as to where you are in space and as you move and orient yourself the feedback changes almost on a constant basis. It’s sort of like having an internal radar system that directs you through life’s obstacles like you might find anywhere between the shopping malls and the football fields.
On the surface this is one complex system and your brain has to be smart enough to process all of it. Your brain and system has to be sharpened on a regular basis in order to keep this system operating at a high level.
Additionally, your electrical pathways have to be efficient enough to process all of this information so that you don’t end up aimlessly wandering out into the middle of a busy highway only to get pancaked by a dump truck.
Now having said this, the sad truth is that this sort of aimless lack of awareness seems to be more and more common in today’s society. As long as people keep their faces buried into their cell phones instead of working to be conscious and aware of their surroundings their body’s internal radar will to continue to be compromised more and more.
As long as people fail to move and master movement then their coordination and relative spatial awareness will suffer. At this point you may be able to deduct that this can be a very dangerous thing.
Don’t allow your physical intelligence to get stupid. Realize that being too dependent on technology and dumbing down your ability to problem solve is never a good thing and there is already way too much of that present in society as it is. Your skills to hone and improve your sixth sense requires another level of mental and physical development that demands regular practice and dedication.
Take the time to engage in movements that challenge your coordination skills. Movement based training drills that include things such as kettlebell cleans, rotational bodyweight movements, and medicine ball throws and catches can be leveraged in effective ways to elevate such skills. Once again your training and exercise program can be designed to address all of your fitness needs which includes the development of your proprioceptive sixth sense!
I hope you enjoyed today’s post and if so then please don’t be shy about posting up in the comments here below the article. Were you aware of your sixth sense? If so what are you doing to enhance it?
To learn more about Brandon Richey and his online coaching programs check him out at http://brandonricheyfitness.com/
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