Cross crawl refers to movements in which we use opposition such as crawling, walking, running, and swimming. Opposition means that opposite sides of the body work together to coordinate the right arm and left leg, then the left arm and right leg.
Therapeutically, cross crawl refers to any intentional cross-lateral activity in which you cross the mid-line of the body, such as touching the opposite hand and knee or foot. Performing this movement builds the bridge between the right and left hemispheres of the brain, allowing for electrical impulses and information to pass freely between the two, which is essential for physical coordination as well as cerebral activities, such as learning language, reading, and hand-to-eye coordination. It is very important in the early stages of human development, and it continues to be beneficial, even in adulthood.
As the name suggests, the initial cross-lateral movement we engage in is crawling. Crawling is, of course, a great conditioning exercise that engages the core, develops balance and strength, but it is also crucial in neurological development.
Through mind-body science, we now understand that physical coordination precedes cognitive coordination. The ability to do cross-lateral movements with the body literally lays the foundation for other cognitive abilities, such as readiness for fine motor academic work. Though it seems to be a fun, simple exercise, here’s what cross-crawl is doing for you physically and mentally:
- Stabilizes your walking gait coordination – builds core strength
- Energizes your body and calms your mind – releases tension and stress
- Improves your eye teaming skills – essential for focus, reading, and writing
- Enhances whole brain thinking – your left and right hemispheres work together
- Develops proprioception – your spatial and kinesthetic awareness
Cross crawl also offers an effective way to reboot your nervous system and re-integrate your mind and body. You can use it regularly to both discharge and recharge your attention and energy. It’s a great break from over-focusing and it works just as well to bring body and mind online. As a stress buster or a warm-up for doing your best, cross crawl has significant social-emotional benefits:
- Increased self-awareness
- Situational insight
- Clarity of thought
- Impulse control
- Physical coordination in general
Check out the video below and give your body and your mind a boost of energy, and a little love for the low back!