As young children, all being well, we are motivated to develop somatic awareness or communication pathways between the brain and the body. It’s how we learn to move a particular body part in a particular way. Over time, we become more coordinated in our movement patterns and for the most part, with simple things, we don’t have to think too much about it anymore.
But just as our muscles and bones need to be exercised, so does our brain if we want it to stay healthy. Continuing to challenge our sense of coordination by learning and/or doing activities that are different to our everyday tasks, is like a movement-based form of sudoko – it will help keep us sharp. This was researched in a recent science program where elderly participants took up table tennis for the first time. Across the board and in varying levels across different parts of their brains, cognitive function improved.
It’s a real shame to give something up because we feel uncoordinated when it’s the very reason we should continue. Whatever we practise, we get better at. No Olympian was created by doing one training session. Personally, I’m not sure what would be worse – a body in working order with a brain that cannot power it, or a brain that’s in perfect working order with a body that can no longer function. So if you’ve forgotten where your nose is, come along to yoga, book in to a dance class or simply try an activity you haven’t tried before. You’ll soon rediscover all those bits you sort of forgot about over the past few years!