Agility is a subset of kinetic intelligence. To function well in sports, prevent a bone-breaking fall when you walk on ice, or generally look graceful, you must be agile. The components of agility are speed, balance, and coordination. When you have all three of these, you are agile. Let's look at how to obtain them.
How fast you can move is a function of:
You've heard it since you were a little kid--watch your posture. Think of the body as a mechanical device--its parts need to be lined up properly for it to function well. We do alignments on car suspensions and color printer heads. Why not on your body? Make sure your spine follows the correct curves; hold your shoulder back, chest out, chin back, head up. Check this by walking with a book on your head. It works.
How do you improve the condition of your nervous system? Most people cannot reach potential here because their diets lack the sufficient fats that the nerves need to be in a healthy condition. Remember the movie Lorenzo's Oil? That is an example of the interaction between the nervous system and essential fatty acids (EFAs).
Practice makes perfect. If you keep yourself generally healthy (as 98% of Americans are not), simply working on your balance will improve it. In the martial arts, doing various motions and patterns while standing on one foot improves balance. If you have correct posture, your body will self-tune for balance. Use your imagination, or join a class. The more you work at your balance, the more it will come. Just 5 minutes a day, every day, and you will develop balance that will amaze others. More practice means more balance, but only if you don't practice to fatigue.
As with balance, you improve coordination by doing. Learn a skill, such as shooting a basketball or balancing it on a finger. Take up sewing, play catch, take a painting class, learn wall-climbing. The more you practice placing your hands or feet in specific positions, the more coordination will come. Look for activities that are coordination-intensive, and do them. If it's frustrating at first, find someone who can help you practice one-on-one. Use mirrors, and work on your form. Slow motion, repetition, and drills--these are the classic tools for developing coordination. Use them all.
Practicing the motions is a way of programming your nervous system so you can react without thinking. This is a core training principle in the martial arts, dancing, football, basketball, and nearly every other athletic endeavor. It's also a core survival skill for every living thing. To be agile, do things. Practice, play, and get moving. If you feed your body right, the agility will come.
The articles on this site are authoritative, because:
Where an article is not bylined with a specific author's name, it was written by Mark Lamendola (see photos on home page and elsewhere on this site). Mark is a 4th degree blackbelt, has not been sick since 1971, and has not missed a workout since 1977. Just an example of how Mark knows what he's talking about: In his early 50s, Mark demonstrated a biceps curl using half his body weight. That's a Jack LaLanne level stunt. Few people can even come close. If you want to know how to build a strong, beautiful body, read the articles here.
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