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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Jackman

Aren't We Amazing!

I've just completed a course on exercise for long term neurological conditions, and I would like to share some things with you.

In addition to learning about the brain, central nervous system and peripheral nervous system, we delved into the main conditions and how exercise can help.

Before you read further down, get a pen plus scrap paper and write your signature 3 times. Now put the pen in the other hand and write your signature three times.

Did you notice that with your dominant hand it was automatic? You didn't have to think about what you were doing.

Then with your other hand you had to visualise your signature and concentrate on the writing.

The reason it was easy with your dominant hand is because you have written your signature many, many times. You have learnt how much force you need, which muscles to recruit and what movement is required.

With your other hand you were just starting the journey to a learnt movement. You had to concentrate, get your hand to move, notice when it did not do what you were expecting and refine.

As I touch type this, I find it amazing how my fingers know what keys to press without thinking. Same relates to walking, sitting, lifting your cup of tea.... the list goes on.

You have learnt how to move. Not in your muscles but in the nervous system that control your muscles. And that takes time. About 10,000 hours for each movement!

Here are some other things you might be interested in:

  • When your muscles shake when you are working out, it is not the muscles it is the electrical impulses from the nervous system.

  • Government guidance is 30 min low/moderate activity or 75 mins moderate/high activity 5 days a week, plus two strength sessions a week and no 2 rest days together.

  • You lose 10-21% of fitness with 3 weeks bedrest.g

  • The time the green man is lit up on a crossing relates to someone crossing at 3 mph.

  • Repetitions in exercise is like a dose of exercise. How much someone needs is not standard and may need tweaking up/down.

  • Both boxing and music has been found to help with Parkinson’s.

  • A neuron relates to a fewer number of muscle fibres in the hands as detailed work is required, compared to the legs where gross movements is done. We have billions of neurons.

  • Trained athletes are more likely to get injured as they have desensitized their Golgi Tendon Organs - these tell the muscle when to relax when under tension.

  • Foods with Vitamin D plus polyunsaturated/monosaturated fats help the brain and nervous system stay healthy.

  • Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the UK and fourth cause of death. Covid will not have helped with increased stress and reduced activity.

  • You can work your non effected side and it will help the other side by engaging the nervous system.

  • More people in the Northern Hemisphere have MS, plus it effects women more than men especially around menopausal years.

  • To learn the areas on the spine, think "Can The Lady Sip Coke" - I was taught another version but it was rude.

  • If after a stroke you struggle to speak then often you can still sing.

  • Sports coaches want moves to be autonomous just like our signatures.

  • It is harder to rewire the nervous system rather than install. So it is harder to re-learn a task, than learning it from the start.

The above are just snippets of information and it is going to take me a while to take all the information in.

What we all must do is keep moving. As if we don't use it, then we lose it. Neurological condition or not.

If I can help anyone in any way, then please do get in touch. I currently work with a few clients with Parkinson’s and a few with an acquired brain injury.

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