Rotary Club gets on its feet during program on rehabilitation, exercise

Published 7:42 pm Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Do you know what a proprioceptor is?

It’s okay if you don’t, but you might have wanted to be at Tuesday’s Rotary meeting to learn about them.

Memorial Hospital and Manor Physical Rehab Director Barbara Cliff-Miller educated Rotary on the importance of proprioceptors and how to keep your body on it’s A-game, even into old age.

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A proprioceptor are sensors in your limbs that give your brain information on where the limb is in space, the angle its at and muscle tension. Having active proprioceptors can mean the difference between catching your balance before a nasty fall and a trip to the emergency room.

“Fifty-five percent of falls occur inside the home,” Cliff-Miller said. “Twenty-two percent occur outside of the home. So you have to be careful inside your home. It seems to be where we are all falling—over dogs, over steps over rugs, on small step stools.”

Cliff-Miller showed off S.T.E.P. to keep those who may be prone to falling literally on their toes. The acronym stands for “Stay active”, “Talk to your physician”, “Eyesight checkups”, and “Pick up your stuff.” All four are easy ways to stay on your feet and keep your body’s proprioceptors alert.

Five different exercises were also displayed that required nothing more than a floor and a chair. Activities like squatting to the seat of a chair and rising back up and jumping jacks are perfect ways for older men and woman to stay fresh and alert.

“I really challenge all of you to do it,” Cliff-Miller said “Challenge your proprioception. These are all good things to attempt.”

She also said proprioceptors could be stimulated just by standing on one foot while waiting in line at the bank.

Another simple way to work on them is closing your eyes and gently swaying forward and backward. Keeping your limbs aware of where they are in space without using your eyes is a great workout to strengthen your proprioceptors.