Did you know that crawling has some fitness benefit? Well I didn’t.
Yes, crawling, a seemingly childish and foolish “exercise,” could be the one thing that improves your health, your strength, your mobility, and your performance in any athletic area. It could even improve your ability to think, focus, and reason.
Crawling is a developmental movement pattern that ties everything about you together. In developing children, crawling activates and integrates the different parts of the brain. Through crawling, neural connections and pathways are established in the brain that allows the brain to become more efficient at communication between the left and right hemispheres.
The better the brain can communicate and process information, the better the body moves. Crawling also unites your sensory systems. It integrates your vestibular system (your balance system), your proprioceptive system (your sense of self in space, or your self-awareness system), and your visual system (your visual system). It can even improve your hand-eye coordination.
crawling has been used as a physical therapy tool, Johnson said, and now it has been adopted for strengthening and fitness.
The idea of turning to crawl like a baby into exercise has been championed by the training system original strength which repurposes fundamental movements into a fitness regimen.
According to Original Strength, when you crawl, you’re “pressing reset” on your central nervous system and revisiting the mobility patterns you learned as a baby.
Patterns such as crawling not only require motor skills, they involve the vestibular system, a sensory system associated with balance and spatial orientation, said Justin Klein, a chiropractor, and CEO of Got Your Back Total Health in Washington, who has incorporated crawling into his practice.
“It’s like resetting the central loop in the nervous system to bring all of the parts involved in coordination, movement, and reflexive stability into synchronization,” Klein said.
“You have to really work to be able to breathe, keep your head up and crawl at the same time, all while keeping your pattern,” he said. “That’s the kind of thing where, if you are being really mindful within your crawl, it is harder than it looks.”
Klein always recommends crawling as an exercise to his patients, he said, from professional athletes to those injured in car accidents.
Denard Span, a center fielder for the San Francisco Giants, has included crawling in his strength and conditioning training, Klein said. When Span was with the Washington Nationals, he was Klein’s patient and learned how crawling translates directly with movements used in baseball, such as a certain cross-crawl pattern seen in throwing and batting.
But as Klein, Johnson and other enthusiasts insist that the crawling movement will help your body regain the strength, mobility, and stability you had in your youth, other experts remain skeptical.
So maybe you should start crawling again.