The head is like the captain of your body. It gives the commands, and your body is supposed to follow the orders. The head is the leader. The body is the follower. The adage “where the head goes, the body will follow” is true. That is the way we are wired to operate.
One of the keys to health and resilience is to have a solid “connection” between the head and the body. That is, you want the reflexes that are intimately tied to your vestibular system (your internal gyroscopes, or your balance system) to be very sharp. A great way to strengthen the connection between your head and your body is to spend some time rolling on the floor, leading with your head.
Head rolls give the body great practice in following the head. They sharpen the reflexes of your core musculature and they help develop reflexive rotational strength – the kind of strength that is necessary should you ever decide to do something “crazy” like go for a run!
Head rolls really help glue your body together. If you decide to use your head and roll, you should approach it the way a child does. When I child rolls with it's head, it usually rolls out of the necessity to satisfy his curiosity. What I mean by that is that a child may hear a sound that catches its attention. It will then shift its eyes to look for the sound and turn its head to find the sound. Eventually, the head turn becomes strong enough to cause the body to wind underneath the head. This is how a child uses its head to roll. It hears, it looks, it turns, it rolls.
So, if you decide to embark on head rolls, practice this same way. Find a target that is behind your head. Take your eyes and look for the target, turn your head, and roll towards where you want to go. In other words, lead with your eyes, then your head. Keep turning your head to the direction you want to go until your body rolls over.
In the beginning, this may not seem very smooth. Remember, a baby is not a smooth roller the first time they roll either. If anything, a baby discovers rolls by accident. Keep practicing. The more you roll, the smoother it gets. Eventually you will be able to roll with a fluid, effortless flow. This is reflexive strength that will only add to your body's overall resilience and health. It will even make you a better, stronger runner.
If you are setting out on a health and strength goal, or even if you have been working towards a goal for quite a while, use your head. Learn how to roll with your head and tie your body together from the ground up. Doing so will establish a solid foundation of strength and health from which you can accomplish any physical goal.
If you can grab hold of this idea, heads will roll!