MAR 14, 2018 8:26 AM PDT

This is Your Brain on Figure Skates


The Olympics are over, the torch is out, and everyone has packed their gear and gone home. However, one of the most popular events, figure skating, held audiences at the edge of their seats with the spins, jumps, and choreography that seem both effortless and physically impossible. Figure skating is a complex combination of grace and strength. It takes a huge amount of athletic skill to execute triple and even quadruple axels, and to the untrained eye, it all looks like magic. But there is some science to it.

Many of the moves in skating seem to be counter to what most people do. If someone starts to slip on the ice or fall, the natural reaction when falling backward is a reflex to pitch forward. Skaters have to ignore that reflex and do something that is counter to what the brain would tell the body to do. In the cerebellum, where these motion reflexes happen, skaters have rewired the brain to not react to the spins and dips of their routines. Skaters essentially can re-program what the brain is designed to do, all while wearing a smile and sequins. After hundreds of hours of practice, the moves that are counter to what the average brain would do, are set in stone, and the routines look easy.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
OCT 22, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Why Do Galaxies Come in Different Shapes?
OCT 22, 2020
Why Do Galaxies Come in Different Shapes?
When looking it galaxies, it takes little to realize that they come in different shapes- whether they're swirling bl ...
OCT 22, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
NASA Looks to Nuclear Fusion for Powering Deep Space Missions
OCT 22, 2020
NASA Looks to Nuclear Fusion for Powering Deep Space Missions
Nuclear fusion is the frontier of energy research, and NASA has a plan to bring this state-of-the-art power source to th ...
NOV 12, 2020
Health & Medicine
Measles Cases and Deaths Surge Worldwide
NOV 12, 2020
Measles Cases and Deaths Surge Worldwide
Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a stat ...
MAR 05, 2021
Plants & Animals
Scientists Heal Diseased Corals
MAR 05, 2021
Scientists Heal Diseased Corals
The world's coral reefs face numerous threats, including climate change, pollution, and habitat loss. Since 2014, an ...
APR 09, 2021
Plants & Animals
Celebrating National Pet Day
APR 09, 2021
Celebrating National Pet Day
Sunday, April 11, is National Pet Day! From pandemic companions to viral videos, pets are a huge part of our lives. Even ...
MAY 30, 2021
Space & Astronomy
New Discovery Casts Origin of Milky Way into Doubt
MAY 30, 2021
New Discovery Casts Origin of Milky Way into Doubt
A detailed cross-section of another galaxy, known as YGC 10738, has cast previous ideas of how the Milky Way was formed ...
Loading Comments...