Hackin’ the Sack Between the Ears

By Talismanicidols on March 28, 2016

It has only been about two weeks since I’ve begun kicking the foot bag around.  By the way, Hacky Sack is a brand and Foot Bag is the sport. I did it a few times with Hierosonic back in ’07 or ’08 at band practice and on the road, but nothing since then. The difference is this time I’m looking for something out of it that I hadn’t considered before. Hacking into neural pathways.

Now the peer reviewed data seems sparse so I won’t make outrageous claims, but exercise is one of the few components that can trigger neurogenesis.   According to Dr. Rhonda Patrick @FoundMyFitness, the other triggers are dark chocolate, tea, blueberries, red wine, sex and cannabinoids.  All great things.

Health:

Things I have noticed about playing after just two weeks at an hour a day.

  • Hip, leg and foot flexibility
    • The unusual method of throwing the leg up close to your body is so quick that the muscles don’t get too tight and each kick is a stretch.  By the way, stretching has more to do with the Central Nervous System relaxing rather than causing contraction than the “stretchiness” of the muscles and tendons.
  • Balance body and brain hemispheres
    • The body balancing comes from consistently standing on only one leg while the other performs a kick.  Assuming each leg gets a chance, this causes postural alignment and strengthening of both legs equally over time.
    • The balancing of brain hemispheres is due to the eye-foot coordination.  This also strengthens eye muscles but keeping on topic, to progress at foot bag, you must be quick, decisive, sensitive, light yet strong on your feet, and breathing efficiently.  All of this motor function seems to dwindle as we challenge ourselves less and less as the years tick on.  The amount of impact that concentration on breathing through such a versatile and nimble exercise has on the brain is evident after only a few weeks at an hour a day.  I won’t say it reverses aging, but it does make you feel young to play and exercise and witness gradual progress.
  • Core and Leg strength
    • To get the leg up towards the hip so many times in a single session strengthens the muscles of the legs, gluteus and abdominals.  If stretching is applied afterwards, maybe even a cold bath 🙂 the recovery time accelerates and you’ll have legs, abs and ass of steel.
  • Cardiovascular health
    • If you’ve ever tried to keep a foot bag or any small item in the air using everything except your arms and hands, you’ve probably noticed that your heart rate goes up, breathing becomes labored and sweat appears… My gosh that’s exercise.  It’s also low impact because you’re not really jumping and landing unless you’ve advanced to more complex tricks.  In that case, you should be writing this article.
  • Focus
    • The shear amount of concentration that is involved is meditative in nature.  You can’t quite be performing calculus in your mind while starting out with foot bag.  If you can, than you’ve achieved another level of focus… and you should be writing this article.
    • The type of concentration I’m talking about causes a harmony of the body and mind.  Quick decisions, no deliberation, no time to get caught up in debate, just actions of the body to solve rapidly changing circumstances.

History:

There are accounts of co-operative kicking sports from nearly every country.  Native America, Thailand and even in South East Asia dating back to 2597BC.

Future:

Look forward to a Waking Infinity episode including Steve Goldberg.  A 52 year old foot bag aficionado with incredible heart health.  It’s not filmed yet or confirmed but we’re talking about filming in the next few months.

References:

History of Footbag / Hacky Sack:  http://inventors.about.com/od/famousinventions/fl/The-History-of-the-Hacky-Sack.htm

Health & Hacky Sack:  http://www.meta-ehealth.com/site/office/custom-wellness/article.jsp?path=fm_wellness_center/fitness/sports_and_activities&id=1&category=fitness



Categories: Movement and Mind Training, Uncategorized.

Tags: Foot bag, Hacky Sack, health, mind body, Steve Goldberg, Waking Infinity.