September 15th, 2009
by Mike T Nelson · Filed Under: Mobility · athletic performance · neurology · neuroplasticity
Why does Z Health focus on the nervous system?
3 main reasons:
1) governing system of the body
2) fastest system in the body
3) most stable/ most plastic system in the body
Everything in your body is run by you nervous system and it is the governing system in the body. EVERYTHING is under its control, and this includes the muscles and the mobility of your joints! If you can optimize the nervous system, you can optimize performance.
The nervous system is also incredibly fast. Nerve impulses can travel at speeds up to 300 mph! (Editors note: based on a comment I have added a list of references for nerve conduction speeds HERE). It has the ability to adapt to change in milliseconds. Dr. Cobb has always said “you should be able to change your body at the speed of the nervous system” and that is fast. No need to wait to see if those planks, stick up and external shoulder rotation work is helping you 4-6 weeks later. You can evaluate any change in seconds! That change can joint mobility exercises, strength training, any movement!
Stable and plastic
Initially this seems like a contradiction. The nervous system is very stable, yet has the ability to change and adapt. If you go back even 10 to 15 years ago, it was commonly thought the amount of neurons (nerve/brain cells) you had as an adult was fixed. If you lost some, too bad, none were going to regenerate and replace them; sorry, you’re screwed. We now know that this is not true at all and the body has an ability to create new nerve cell (brain neurogenesis) and to also rewire all these nerve cells (brain neuroplasticity).
Stroke patients that had lost function of say their left arm through months of therapy could learn to use the once “damaged” arm to full function again via the concept of neuroplasticity. How? With specific training, they were able to get their brain to rewire so a different part learned to take over the function (motor control) of the arm.
If the brain can do this, I think we can teach it (and you!) how to perform at a higher level, lift more, jump higher, and become a better athlete.