Spinning With Weights And Don’t Forget Your Tongue


Hi folks,

My latest Continuum dance lesson effectively demonstrated the importance of arm dynamics during running. During this session, Rebecca handed me a soft, five inch diameter ball weighing about 2 lbs. and I was told to balance the ball in the palm of my hand, whilst I then danced to some music. The effect was fascinating. The extra weight in my hand resulted in dramatic effects on body dynamics, as I was pulled along by the ball. The more I worked on it the more relaxed I became, and it was increasingly evident that my arms, shoulders and then the rest of my torso were being dragged in the direction of this new center of mass.

A parasaggital plane is parallel to the saggital plane. From: http://goo.gl/f9qbt


This is why you don’t want to swing your arms across your body during running, as it creates a tendency to weave that you have to resist or follow. Because your shoulders rotate in your transverse plane as you run, as coupled oscillators, it is essential that you relax your shoulders in order to maintain the movement of your arms in your parasaggital plane. Try running with a light weight in one hand and watch this effect for yourself, or you could apply this in the gym.

Another interesting fact, and one which I did not notice until I had studied Feldenkrais for a while, is the way which my head and then the rest of my body tend to follow my eyes and/or tongue. If you relax your neck and shoulders and look or move your tongue to the right you will sense a slight tendency for your head to follow. I find that my tongue is actually a stronger motivator of this tracking movement than my eyes.

Muscles of the tongue. From: http://goo.gl/O6NJ9

We are predators at heart, and we have many sensory organs, the majority of which we employ to track our prey. These senses, including olfaction, gustation, vision and audition, are linked during tracking. You hear a twig snap, immediately looking that way, sensing the air for clues. Snakes use their tongue, with the assistance of Jacobson’s organ to sense prey or threat. Perhaps we do also, but on a subconscious level. And then there’s that horrible tongue parasite in fish, Cymothoa exigua – OK! Time to move on!

Humans do appear to be dominated largely by the sense of sight, but when it comes to our other senses, maybe it is a case of use it or lose it. The more aware you become of these things, the more aware you will be of the role played by your sense organs in body movement, and perhaps this awareness will improve your running and other skills? Who knows?

Happy sensing and watch those arms!

-k Your Medical Mind


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.