A study published in the journal Perceptual and Motor Skills showed that exercises that involve balance and coordination like crawling can increase your working memory. In the study participants were separated into 3 groups:
- One group required people to complete various dynamic exercises such as crawling and climbing for 2 hours. The exercises required the participants to balance and be aware of their movements and the positioning of their bodies, which is called being proprioceptively aware.
- A second group participated in a yoga class.
- The third group sat in a 2 hour lecture in which they learnt new information.
Each of the groups completed a working memory task before and after the tasks. What they found was that the group that did the balance and crawling exercises had much better working memory than the other two groups. In fact, the working memory improved by up to 50% compared to the others.
How to crawl properly
This may sound like a silly thing to explain, but from experience, some people struggle with a good cross-crawl pattern. Here is how to do it:
- Start on all fours with your hands under your shoulders. Keep you back as straight as possible and turn your core on.
- Start crawling by moving your opposite hand and knee forward. Repeat with the opposite side.
- Practice crawling forward and then backwards.
- Start on all fours as before. Keep your back straight and core on.
- Now for the fun bit. Lift your knees 5cm off of the floor and hold them there.
- Crawl forward keeping your knees 5cm off the floor. Try to avoid lifting your knees higher off the ground and try to keep your torso as still as possible.
- Crawl forward 5 or 6 times and then crawl backwards to the starting point. You should feel this in your core and legs. It can be very challenging for a lot of people.
- I have found to get the most out of this exercise it is all about technique. The more stable you can keep your torso the better. Try putting a plastic bottle or plate on your lower back. If it falls off, you are not stable enough.
- It is not a race so keep it slow and controlled.
- There are lots of other variations of crawling but start with the basics first before you try some of the others.
If you haven’t been doing some crawling, I urge you to try it out and see how you feel. It is great for your brain, your co-ordination, your core and your memory. Your body will thank you for it.
- Images: http://redefiningstrength.com/10-untraditional-bodyweight-exercises/