co·or·di·na·tion
/kōˌôrdnˈāSH(ə)n/  ~  noun
—According to the Oxford Dictionaries

  • The organization of the different elements of a complex body or activity so as to enable them to work together effectively: “both countries agreed to intensify efforts at economic policy coordination”

  • The ability to use different parts of the body together smoothly and efficiently: “changing from one foot position to another requires coordination and balance”

That is all well and good, but what does it take to get the different parts of the body to move smoothly and efficiently?

According to Bonnie Prudden: strength plus flexibility in the proper timing and intensity yield coordination.

bathtub drawing 1 by Bonnie PruddenMuscle Programming
You have hundreds of muscles and each of them has been given a special job to do for you. They were all programmed to go where they were supposed to go and to know what they were supposed to accomplish long before you were the size of a pin-head.

bathtub drawing 2 by Bonnie PruddenHealthy muscles are  designed and programmed to do two simple things: contract and relax. Unless your muscles get together and agree on the move you need to make, you can’t get out of bed, drink your coffee, or brush your teeth.

When you were born, you had all the muscles you are ever going to have. Most of them come in pairs, with interchangeable functions. If you decide to lift your leg out of the bath tub, the muscles in the front of your thigh must initiate the action. That gives them the title Agonist. Before the Agonists can get your knee up and your foot out of the tub, however, the Antagonists, in the back of the thigh (hamstrings) must be notified.

bathtub drawing 3 by Bonnie PruddenThe Antagonist must let go its contraction a fraction of a second before the Agonist initiates the action. When everything is in order, with nerves carrying messages about the correct timing and intensity, there is coordination. When the instructions are the least bit out of sync, movements appear uncoordinated and often clumsy.

Should the Antagonist decide to be uncooperative and not let go on time but remain contracted, you would be stuck in the tub indefinitely.

Exercise is essential to healthy living. We all know that don’t we? But what is the advantage of being coordinated? For one thing, coordination prevents exhaustion because the movement is effortless.

In order to be coordinated you must develop both strength and flexibility. If you are flexible enough to wrap your leg around your neck, but lack the strength to lift the leg, you are nowhere. On the other hand if you can press five hundred pounds but can’t bend down to tie your shoelace, you are really no better off.

The Natural Athlete
The natural athlete is always in balance and control and seldom under- or over-reaches in any play. But he/she is a rarity, not the rule, and a great deal can be done to train muscles to behave correctly in even the most average body.

Skiing jumpingSports
If you are to enjoy a sport, any sport, you must have the two qualities of strength and flexibility in your pocket. They are two parts of the world’s true wealth. The natural athlete enjoys these qualities. You need them in varying amounts depending on what you want to play and how hard you want to play. A good exercise program will give you both of them and rhythm will help with timing. Repetition should increase your control over intensity, just be sure the pathways you follow are correct.

Pole VaulterPathways
Only constant practice of correct movement will ensure form. Correct basic movement is the key to all successful engagement in sport. The secret is simple. Develop the basic quality of pure movement first and put in additional effort preparing the particular quality needed for your favorite sport.

Weight Training
Weight lifting or weight training or resistance called by any other name, is a great body builder and absolutely essential to excellence in any sport. There is just as much science to lifting weights as to any other sport. Lifting too much and too soon leads to bulging inflexible muscles that are in danger of becoming injured. Choose the way that improves your strength while building smooth, neat muscles.

Good luck, and Keep Fit, Be Happy!

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If you have questions or need help, email me at
enid@bonnieprudden.com.

For more information about Bonnie Prudden®, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy®, workshops, books, self-help tools, DVDs, educational videos, and blogs, visit www.bonnieprudden.com. Or call 520-529-3979 if you have questions or need help. Enid Whittaker, Managing Director, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy®