Gait and Biomechanics and Love Potion #9 !
The topic today is the brain and human movement and music. We would like you to enjoy this video we chose today of Slavik and Anna a little differently that you would normally watch a video. We ask that you cover up the top half of the video with your hand or a thick piece of paper so that you can ONLY see their legs and feet. Trust us, the hands, arms and their youthful attractiveness will distract you from the amazing stuff going on down in the legs and feet. Go ahead now and watch the video and see the amazing skill and precision of complicated foot work. There will be times that the feet are a blur, you will think the video has been sped up. It has not. If you can understand this type of complex footwork gait and running foot strike is going to be child’s play. It is why we study this stuff, because everything after this is easy. These are two of the very best dancers of all time and they show it here moving to the musical group, The Coasters version of “Love Potion #9”. This video is a classic example of complex motor tasks combined to music. Music makes everything better. Weddings, parties, even elevators (usually) are better when there is music. Today we will discuss how the brain can use music to help us learn. If you know this next song, you may find yourself immediately humming it in your head …
A B C
Easy as 1 2 3
Or simple as Do Re Mi
ABC, 123, Do Re Mi, baby you and me
There you have it. The chorus to The Jackson 5’s song “ABC”.
Kids have always learned well and fast (such as the alphabet) when music is integrated into a concept. Music provides timing. Music taps into fundamental systems in our brains that are sensitive to melody and beat. And when you are learning a task, timing can access part of the brain to either make it easier, easier to remember, or engrain the learned behavior deeper. When you add music to anything you are exercising other parts of your brain with that task. It is nothing new in the world of music and brain research when it comes to proving that music expands areas of learning and development in the brain. As Dr. Charles Limb, associate professor of otolaryngology and head and neck surgery at Johns Hopkins University states “It (music) allows you to think in a way that you used to not think, and it also trains a lot of other cognitive facilities that have nothing to do with music.”
Several weeks ago we asked you as an athlete, and this pertains to runners and even those walking, to add music to your training. If you are walking, vary the songs in your ipod to express variations in tempo. Use those tempo changes to change your cadence. If you are a runner, once in awhile add ipod training to your workouts and do the same. Your next fartlek (a system of training for distance runners in which the terrain and pace are varied to enhance conditioning) might be a new experience. Perhaps an enjoyable one. Trust us, we have done it. Here at The Gait Guys, with our backgrounds in neurology and biomechanics amongst other things, we are always looking for new ways to learn and to incorporate other areas of brain challenge to our clients. To build a better athlete you have to use training ideas that are often outside the box.
Today’s video of Slavik and Anna is a classic example of complex motor tasks combined to music. It is much about timing. Dancers call it musicality. Asking anyone to learn these movements without music would not be impossible, it would take some time, but without a focus on perfect technique or music timing to the movements someone might be able to learn them crudely in a day or two. BUT, add the timing and musicality and accentuations to that music, such as Slavik and Anna show here, and this becomes a task of many many years study and practice. A task they make appear simple, elegant and fun to do or watch. Can you imagine the foot skill and core abilities of these two ? It is mind boggling the number of complex motor tasks that occur here every second.
So, go grab your iPod and go for a run or a walk. Mix up your songs. Hear the beat, feel the rhythm and change your next workout into “feeling” the change of the music’s embedded metronome. Use those advanced areas of your brain to integrate music and timing into your rehab, your run, your walk, your workout. Don’t just “listen” to the music. Rather, feel it, move your body to it, so your brain can integrate it and embed it and make your task more engrained. Remember what Dr. Charles Limb said,
“It (music) allows you to think in a way that you used to not think, and it also trains a lot of other cognitive facilities that have nothing to do with music.”
Shawn and Ivo……helping you push the edges of human performance, through science, music and medicine.
(And here is a thank you “shout out” to my dance instructors (Godiva, Brittni, Max, Jake, Vance, Ellie, Caleb and Michael) for helping me to understand, struggle, and learn about these complex foot, limb, core motions and how music changes the brain’s learning curve. It has taken my understanding of human movement, functional anatomy and biomechanics to a level that I never knew existed. You make walking and running so simple for me now, simple to do and understand. Thank you !)
Attached here is an article from CNN and Dr. Limb that inspired today’s blog post.