Have you ever met a baby with back pain? How about a toddler with tight hips? Considering these and other ailments seem to be a common side effect of aging, do infants and toddlers hold the secrets to being forever supple?
It’s important to note that many factors make infants and children so mobile and devoid of the aches and pains that many adults experience. Some key movements they perform on a regular basis, however, help “grease the groove” to create strength, stability and mobility.
It’s not surprising, then, that the fitness and rehab fields have seen a boost in the popularity of infant movement patterns. Exercises involving rolling, rocking, squatting and crawling are used to get people out of pain, while providing them with a unique movement challenge.
One of the most popular movements is the crawl, and it is used for everything from ADHD treatment to a grueling, fat-blasting exercise. For years, I have used the crawl in personal-training programs, both as an assessment tool and as a “cure all” for clients ranging from children to professional athletes.
Introducing infantile movement patterns to adults often takes a bit of a “sell” on the personal trainer’s part. However, once clients experience the challenge and, more importantly, the results of this “magic” movement, all doubt is put to rest.
The crawl pattern offers a variety of benefits for nearly every part of the body. Read on to learn how moving like a baby can offer big-time results for adults.
Crawling and the Brain
The brain and body have a back-and-forth, plastic relationship. The brain develops so the neural system can tell the body to do more stuff. The body does more stuff, which sends feedback to the brain and causes the brain to develop more. This relationship continues for life.
Crawling requires both sides of the brain to work together, because limbs on both sides of the body have to move synchronously (called a contralateral movement pattern). To make this happen, information must be passed through a “highway” that links the two sides or hemispheres of the brain called the corpus callosum.
When a lot of information has to be passed through the corpus callosum (as it does during a crawl pattern), new neural connections must be formed and strengthened. It appears this can help improve coordination, learning, and even behavior in both kids and adults.
Crawling and the Shoulder