When one understands that our so called mechanical or structural orientation is a product of neurological activity, one is invited to ask the question; how is our way of training and educational systems honouring this neurological reality?
Lets look at the facts:
- Spinal function is a neurological behaviour.
- Spinal function is a behavioural response to gravity.
- Neurological lack is causing mechanical failure.
- Brain stem is where orientation is constructed and reflexes are generated to globally position, stabilise and move the spine as a dynamic whole
- Extensive connections between the cerebellum, vestibular apparatus and mid-line columns of neurons in the brainstem.
- The purpose of a reflex is to produce a behavioural response very quickly without having to involve the higher cortical centres.
- Mid-line (spinal) stability happens via firing of motor neurons from brain-stem level, which operate reflexively to the lower levels as a motor foundation to which the higher levels in the cortex project down using the more lateral pathways to control the limbs.
- Posture/stability: core of the brain-stem. Proprioceptive inputs (from the body) project into the same core area of the brain-stem.
- Vestibular (balance based) input controls the body, neck and eyes through the vestibular reflex, vestibular colic reflex, and vestibular occular reflex.
- Inputs to stability are balance based, body (propriosensory) based and vision based. The eyes are wired to the spine and should be included in core training, as should the feet.
What are the 5 Levels of Cognition that are Basic to all Vertebrates
1. Reflexes: Autonomic and Somatic
2. Compound Movements: Posture, locomotion and eye movements
3. Innate behaviour: Food intake, hydration, fight/flight, rest/digest (these are the poles of the Autonomic Nervous System), sexual activity.
4. Cerebral-Sensory Motor Function: Primary sensory cortex, primary motor cortex, cerebellum motor learning and patterning new activities in sensory-motor cortex (this means whole body-brain learning).
5. Cerebral Association Function (developed in primates): Association areas of the cortex. In humans this is 75% of the cortex. Emergence of mental activities such as thought. Prediction, purposeful goal-directed behaviour. Cerebellum expanded laterally. Frontal lobe and lateral cerebellum expanded together for highest human function.
The Limbic system is a positive or negative reinforcer in a given harmful situation. It estimates biological value of behaviour.
The reason for bringing this basic framework of neurology to your attention is to show you how poorly we are doing in both training and the living education of our children.
Our educational systems still function as though conceptual information is limited and continue to reward individual achievement for the regurgitation of conceptual information. This is basically because it is easy to measure. Our educational systems have evolved to become measurement focused over whole person learning and development because the latter does not generate standardised reports.
Training systems are still largely metabolically focused, because historically the first measures came from measurement of exchange of gases in exercise physiology labs. The majority of people training with personal trainers are doing high level metabolic work to burn kilojoules and doing exercises that are loading there bodies unevenly. Our health systems see people breaking down in their forties as the norm. The age at which dysfunction is turning up, is dropping rapidly, and I am seeing people with serious dysfunction in their early twenties. The good news is that this can turn around quickly by stopping the harm through learning to move with attention to functional ideal supported by intrinsic stabilising system.
The components of fitness do not recognise the neurology of movement because they are based on limited measures, not sophisticated understanding of the way that the brain and nervous system organises movement.
A focus on sport while having a cross-section of wonderful benefits develops a specialised body, that brings with it, its own set of problems. All athletes need education on how to maintain a symmetrical, balanced body based on understanding of dominances, intrinsic stability, biomechanical tune and undulation of work-rest.
Hopefully the reading of this, even if you dont grasp all the terminology shows that we are dramatically under-challenging our perceptual and movement systems in the majority of our training and educational systems which is creating gross neglect in our individual and collective potentials.