What A Simple Technique We Learned From Childhood Development Can Teach Us About Improving Health And Fitness In Adults
Note: this is a guest article by Tim Anderson
The human body is simply amazing. And that is probably the biggest understatement I have ever made. There is simply too much wonder, beauty, and mystery inside the human body for me to be able to intelligently articulate how amazing it truly is. Our bodies are brilliantly put together and they are capable of almost anything. Humans can run, jump, swim, climb, create, imagine, laugh, learn and love. We really don’t have many limitations. In fact, if we can imagine something, we can create it and/or conquer it.
We are perfectly made. Or at least, we should be. We weren’t meant to be broken. What I mean is that the body was not meant to get sick or weak. It wasn’t meant to have movement “issues” or limitations. The body is meant to heal, to fight, and to thrive; to move with grace and power. We are meant to be strong, healthy and resilient; capable of conquering any obstacle.
Somewhere along the way, we have become fragile – not all of us, but a great deal of us. We have grown sedentary and complacent. And, in doing so, we have lost our resiliency: we get sick more than we should, we age too fast, we get injured way too often, and we find ourselves unable to move like we used to. Fortunately for all of us, the body is wonderfully made, and it is capable of miraculous change. In fact, you can press “reset” on your body and regain the health and strength you were meant to have – that you used to have.
When you were a child, you were strong, you were healthy and you were resilient. You earned your strength and health through learning how to move. Your body was designed to grow in strength and health through movement. This design does not change with age. You can regain your resiliency and your health by getting down on the floor and acting like a child again. I know this sounds crazy, but it is true.
Take crawling for instance, when a baby learns how to crawl, he is building a strong foundation of strength and movement. Crawling literally ties the body, and the brain, together. When a child crawls, he is building reflexive strength – the strength that will be used to pick up heavy objects without getting injured, and the strength that will prepare the child to sprint and generate powerful, explosive forces. Crawling even ties both hemispheres of the brain together. It establishes neural connections, or neural nets, between the two hemispheres and allows the two hemispheres to communicate more efficiently. In other words, crawling nourishes and builds up the brain. Not only can crawling make you smarter, it can help the body to become more efficient at moving because it makes the brain more efficient at communicating. Crawling is not age discriminate. It builds strong bodies in developing children and it can do the same for adults. Crawling is a reset. No matter what age you are, the miracles that happen when a child crawls, still happen when an adult crawls. How amazing is that?
One of the best things about crawling is that you probably already know how to do it. Or, at least you used to. You may actually be surprised that it is not as easy as you think it should be. If you decide to give crawling a chance, start out with the simple baby crawl. Just get down on your hands and knees, keep a big chest, keep your head held high so you can see where you are going, and move your opposite arm together with your opposite leg. Crawling is a contra-lateral movement, the foundation of our gait pattern. So, opposite limbs should move together. If your same-side leg and arm try to move together, you’ve got some practice to do!
Give crawling a try. Just two minutes of crawling around your house everyday can go a long ways towards building a resilient body.
Crawling is just one of the “resets” that can help you regain the resiliency you were born to have. There are other movements and reflexes that babies engage in that can really help you, an adult, become as strong and healthy as you want to become. Yes, I am saying that if you spend time on the floor, moving like a child, you can build a tremendously strong, mobile, resilient body. The miracles of child development, which can now be seen as adult development, do not stop with childhood. Even simple things that children do, like breathing correctly, as gentle as they seem, can truly help you become as strong and rugged as you want to be.
As I said before, we are perfectly made – designed to be strong and resilient, not weak and frail. We are meant to be capable of conquering almost anything: climbing any mountain, solving any problem, or simply playing frisbee with our kids. The human body was created to enjoy life, not just exist. We can regain our resilience and become the life conquerors we were meant to be. All we have to do is approach life through the eyes and movements of a child. All we have to do is become a kid again.
About The Author
—Tim Anderson is co-author of Becoming Bulletproof: An Uncommon Approach to Building a Resilient Body, and author of Pressing Reset and Fitness Habits Made Easy. You can check out his books at www.BecomingBulletproof.net and you can visit his blog at www.Tim-Anderson.net.