Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nerves and Muscles

There are two parts to every nerve: sensory and motor. If you touch a hot stove, the sensory part of your nerve tells you the stove is hot. The motor part of the nerve tells the muscle to contract and pull your hand off the stove. A lot of motor function is autonomic and automatic. We never have to think about a lot of motions and movements once they are learned.

The point here is that we cannot just stretch muscles if we wish to become flexible. Someone can go to a stretching/yoga class, try real hard, make a little progress, and in four months their net gain in flexibility is small. Why? Their motor nerves are still sending a message to the muscle to stay tight. From learned physical responses, old injuries, bad posture, work habits, emotional stress, the body learned to keep a certain amount of tension in the body.

Only by stretching with the proper mindset can correct this. It is the mind that tells the nerves what to do, which in turn tell the muscles what to do.

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