Some years back Kenny Craig, Tilda Tearle, and I were all asked to talk at The Savages Club Pre-Comrades night. All three of us are long time Savages members. It was a home ground gig! 🙂
I was surprised to hear Tilda, a Comrades winner, advise that on race day runners should run as far as they can, walk as far as they can, then, if necessary, crawl as far as they can!
My mind was focused on trying to explain to runners that even effort, not even pace, was the best way to tackle any race. But in having that focus, while awaiting my turn, I missed some great potential with Tilda’s advice.
That approach shows the deep desire, dedication, discipline and determination that is required when a runner or endurance athlete tackles any serious challenge. Being prepared to take whatever action, under your own movement, to finish the event is a mental approach that will assure the best outcome.
Crawling gives strength and Function:
The truth is that when a child is learning to move the first stage is learning to crawl.
They learn the co-ordination of left hand with right knee and vice versa. They learn the functional movement of the hips, lower-back, and knees, plus all associated soft tissue. In fact it is the crawling and attempts to get up that strengthens the muscles that are required for that movement. Getting up improves the proprioceptive system to keep balance.
Child’s play is weight training for walking and running:
Crawling is bodyweight weight training for the child who soon gains the strength, ability, and balance to be able to stand.
Walking is the next stage and soon the child finds that to move forward they commence by leaning and stepping forward. Staggering forward from a lean sees them heading towards the security of open arms or a piece of furniture. If they lean too far forward the speed of the walk becomes a run and initially they will fall because their leg speed cant meet the demand: Equally they find that when leaning back they fall back down. This is how they learn posture.
This is the basics of running and they typically have to learn this barefooted.
The Older The More we Benefit from Crawling:
A lifetime of running, or and sitting, particularly in poorly designed chairs that now-a-days focuses on reclined positions, destroys our functional movement. Working on laptops, phones, and even screens that are too low, also destroy our postures. Heads tend to be leaning forward, shoulders curved and from seating our whole shoulder, hip, and therefore legs and stride in walking and running becomes distorted.
By going back to the basics, we exercise the very joints that we learnt to use and strengthen as a kid. This assists in resetting our body and giving us back the functional movement and joint freedom that we have seized up through a relative inactive work environment.
Work today is different from yesterday:
Keep in mind that until around the mid 1980’s we never had computers at each desk. Instead we wrote notes, memos, and letters which we past to our work colleagues by walking them over to their desks. There was no sitting in one chair in one position for 6-8-10 hours at a time.
That constant in and out of chairs, walks around the office, and interaction meant good and consistent functional movement.
Its not for ‘anyone’ – Its for Everyone!
This just underscores why anyone and everyone today should consider a short session of crawling. It doesn’t have to be long, but making it regular would be ideal, and benefits can be expected to be seen within a few days.
Given that we are all in lockdown for at least 3 weeks, this is a great time to get down on your hunches, hands and knees, or a mountain climbing position. Been close to the ground can also be a lot of fun for families that have very young kids, or pets. It will certainly change things for everyone.
Just Get Down and Do It!
Being close to the floor, and getting down or up, is something anyone can do: It has no age or gender limitation – we all did it before, and can do it again.
In times when there is stress and strain in the household from being locked-up together for a week, being down on the floor may also be the ideal position to discuss and resolve the issue as everyone is at the same level and eyesight.
Don’t think that crawling is only done face down- Crawl on your back – Crab style – or crawl on your side, but both sides. The important thing is to ensure you have fun by going back to doing the things you did as a child..
By the time you get let out on Parole from this lockdown, your body will thank you for your time on the floor! you will feel it in your posture, your walking and your running!