Crawling like a Baby- 2017’s New Fitness Craze
Clear your shelves of running shoes and weights. Give up your gym membership for one at the crèche! Because crawling is the new exercise mantra of the year.
If you actually look deeper, crawling engages almost every muscle in your body. Shoulders, hands, palms, calves, girdle, glutes, quads, abdomen, spine, hips and feet. It involves movement of the whole body and definitely succeeds in toning and strengthening the muscles. In addition to developing musculoskeletal health, crawling has the following benefits:
- It helps with bilateral coordination. This helps even more if you are into sports. But improvement of bilateral coordination even makes routine activities seem effortless.
- Crawling stabilizes the spinal cord and strengthens it. The many joints and muscles around the shoulders stay highly active thus functioning well.
- The hands and shoulders are honed to bear weight and distribute it efficiently.
- By increased and regular bouts of crawling, more calories are burnt. Reflexes become more alert, muscle coordination improves and overall efficiency of the body is increased.
- The activity of crawling is a complete body workout as it strengthens the muscles, tissues and bones of the shoulders, spine, hips, arms and legs.
- Crawling sharpens reflexes and makes the muscles adapt to motion faster. The risk of injury to the hips and shoulders while following daily activities are also reduced as there is better coordination of these muscles.
- Crawling acts as a mood booster as the nervous system is restored, mental focus is increased and body’s response to stress is improved.
While there are many benefits, the activity of crawling can be harmful too. It all depends on the health and fitness levels of the individuals. Experts suggest different levels of crawling for slow adaptation and less harm. These different levels of crawls are:
Baby crawl: This style is for beginners and consists of the most fundamental crawling pattern. Keeping both hands and knees on the ground, you have to crawl forward slowly.
Bear Crawl: This starts with the baby crawl and goes on to add lifting of the knees off the ground and balancing on the toes.
Army Crawl: This type of crawling involves dragging yourself forward across the ground with forearms. The legs and feet are not to be used.
Crab Crawl: Here the movement should be like a crab’s, sideways. The hips should be lifted off the ground with hands and feet behind your back and then you move forwards, backwards or sideways.
Spiderman Crawl: Start with the bear crawl. Bring the foot forward and the hip and chest close to the ground. Replace simultaneous hand and foot movement with the movement of first the foot and then the hand. By touching the body to the ground and keeping the spine long. you have to crawl forward slowly.
A word of caution given by experts is that these crawling movements may cause joint pain owing to the burden of weight being carried by the knees and hands. So it is not advisable for old people, people with knee pain, neck issues and similar complaints. Even for others, use of knee pads, trying out variations and consulting a fitness expert are recommended.