Better movement comes from a better brain

Better movement comes from a better brain

We are excited to announce that we are aligning the RedBird method with Z-health performance –a system that puts the nervous system at the center of training to improve performance, reduce pain and prevent injury.

Here is how it works and what it will look like at RedBird:

As humans, we move through the world by constantly predicting what will happen around us. That is the brain’s main job– survival. The brain must constantly create movement and prediction that keeps us alive.

Our nervous system gets information to make predictions from three major systems:  vision (your eyes), vestibular (the canals of fluid in the inner ear that orient you with gravity) and the proprioceptive system (a sense of where your body is in space and effort being employed in movement that comes from proprioceptors in the muscles, tendons and joints). The better each of these three systems is performing, the better our brain is able to predict the world around us and therefore execute movement efficiently.  If any of these systems are not functioning at optimal performance, the brain can become confused, and  its map of our body is blurry. This confusion, called sensory mismatch, is stressful for the brain.

We all have stress in our lives – work stress, financial stress, relationship stress, exercise stress. (Yes, exercise is a stress on the body.) Even though the stress comes from different sources, it all affects the body the same way. Imagine you have a bucket and ALL stress you experience gets dumped into the bucket. When your “threat bucket” is almost full, the body and the brain are not happy because such a high  level of stress starts to threaten your survival. In order to stop you from over-stressing your system, the brain creates outputs, such as pain, aches, fatigue, dizziness, depression, nausea and more. These are signals for you to change your behavior in order to reduce the stress you are experiencing. As movement practitioners, unfortunately we can’t help you with relationship and job stress, but we CAN help you reduce the total amount of threat you face on a daily basis, reducing the overall stress in the bucket, thereby also reducing negative outputs, such as joint pain, back pain, headaches, and lethargy.
If your brain’s body map is always blurry because of dysfunction in the visual, vestibular or proprioceptive systems, your nervous system faces constant threat. By training these systems to perform better, the body map become clearer and the brain can predict with less stress. When the total amount of threat in your bucket goes down, the negative outputs decrease.
The RedBird team has been practicing  vision, vestibular and proprioceptive drills that will soon  appear in classes. We have experienced  that the places in our bodies that were constantly holding tension,  such as the neck, the hip flexors and the lower back,  have released as our threat level has decreased  through stimulation and training of the nervous system. These changes have been powerful and far beyond anything produced by stretching, rolling, or even massage.

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This is because these nervous system drills target improvement in the unconscious brain – the cerebellum and the brain stem, which control our posture and stability muscles. In order to achieve lasting change in movement quality and posture, the “primitive” brain–not just the frontal lobe or conscious mind–must be trained. Even in meditation, the training is at the level of conscious thought as you try to consciously change behavior. Now, with new tools, we are focusing on improving posture and movement at the subconscious level.

What if I have poor vision or balance? Can that change?

If you have bad balance, vision or body awareness, don’t worry; you can change the brain at ANY AGE! New research continues to show that the brain retains its plasticity (ability to change) at all ages, as long as it receives new stimulation. Just as skeletal muscles must experience  movement to stay strong and pliable, the brain and nervous system must have continued stimulation and use to produce positive change. EVEN YOUR VISION gets better, at any age, with the proper stimulus.
Neurons function on the USE IT OR LOSE IT principle. That means you have to activate and stimulate the neuron to keep it healthy. In order for the DNA that resides in the neuron to do its job, the neuron must receive neurological communication,  just as a muscle must be used in order to stay strong. If it is not used, it atrophies. When the neuron receives proper neurological communication, it can produce the necessary components, such as proteins and neurotransmitters, to perform its functions. The simple rule, according to Dr. Cobb of Z-health, is that you don’t want to leave neurons under-activated.

What does this mean for your training?

At RedBird we are committed to incorporating this new science into our classes and training. Initially we will roll out drills in our private sessions and series-based classes. Coming soon, we will launch series-based classes that focus exclusively on learning the vision, vestibular and proprioceptive drills that work best for your body and how to execute them properly for maximum results. Over time, you can expect to see this work in all RB classes.
For more information about brain training and functional neuroscience, check out one of the RedBird Preferred Providers, Troy Dodson. As a Z-health trainer and practitioner of Functional Diagnostic Nutrition, Troy will  work with Lee and Elisabeth to develop programming and training that integrate this work into the RedBird method.