Yes, you read that title correctly. And no, this isn’t just the most recent fitness craze that is going to go the way of the ab wheel and shaker weights. It is, in fact, a return to the instinctual movements of childhood and an effective way to loosen tight muscles and strengthen your core, glutes, and arm muscles. Here are our favorite reasons to start crawling like a baby for exercise and how to do it safely.
Benefits of crawling like a baby
You don’t need a gym
No need to spend your hard-earned money on a gym membership or even leave your house to perform this easy exercise. It uses bodyweight alone and can be performed anywhere there is a comfortable and safe surface to crawl on, such as a carpeted hallway or living room. Like other bodyweight exercises, this is a great one to incorporate into your daily routine that doesn’t require a lot of investment to get started.
It tones your whole body
Unlike other popular exercises such as running, pushups, or crunches, crawling engages all of the major muscle groups in your body. Though the different types of crawling can vary in intensity and difficulty, all of them will work your muscles in some way. This exercise focuses on your calves, quads, glutes, shoulder girdle, deep abdominal muscles, and even the muscles in your hips and feet, for a full-body workout that will leave you sore and worn out (in the best way possible, of course).
It is a fundamental movement
Here at The Alternative Daily, we are firm believers in practical fitness. Why train and tax a muscle group that you are never going to use in your daily life? Of course, there is benefit in working out no matter what you are doing, but mindful movement that supports your activities is by far the most effective. Crawling is a protective, strength training exercise that also loosens tight joints and encourages flexibility. Fill your workout time with these fundamental movements that encourage full range of motion and support mental acuity as well.
Moving all four of your limbs together requires greater coordination than a simple exercise such as running or walking. Think about how long it took you to learn how to swim. It didn’t just happen overnight but required effort. Soon, however, it was second nature, and you were doing it without thinking. Like swimming, crawling is something you have to learn. The difference is that you already learned it as a child, which means that the instincts are there, and you merely have to reactivate them. Doing things like crawling will allow you to get in touch with your whole body and increase your physical coordination and mindful movement.
One of the best core exercises
If you are trying to get in shape for summer and achieve those peak, toned abs, then you may want to add crawling to your repertoire. It is one of the best exercises for your core and could actually help you burn off some of that winter fat. Look out bikini season.
Types of crawling
Though there are many types of crawling, for our purposes, we are going to discuss two of the most common variations.
Baby Crawl: Begin on the floor on your hands and knees. Keep your back flat, and start moving by placing your opposite hand and knee forward. Alternate limbs and look straight ahead as you progress to keep your body in line.
Bear Crawl: Begin on the floor on your hands and knees. Keep your back flat and your butt down and lift your knees off the ground a few inches so that they are hovering over the floor. Start moving by stepping your opposite hand and foot forward and alternate as you go. Avoid looking down and look straight ahead instead.
With any crawl, it is crucial to engage your muscles instead of just moving your body across the floor. You will be able to feel a difference when you are propelling yourself forward with your glutes and core and not just your arms and legs.
Start by adding just 5 minutes of baby crawling to your day. Set a timer and crawl around your living room or hallway until it goes off. You may feel silly at first, but once you begin to feel that whole body burn and start to notice those newly tones muscles, you’ll be sure to understand the hype. Move up to more advanced crawls as you become comfortable.
Remember, certain exercises aren’t for everyone. If you have any injuries that are irritated by crawling or have been advised to avoid certain movements by a doctor, it is best to listen to your healthcare provider and your body. For instance, if you have pain in your wrists or knees or have had surgery in either of these areas, you may want to stay away from crawling as it puts a particular strain on these joints. Challenge yourself in your fitness, but don’t do anything that causes pain or discomfort.
-The Alternative Daily