The following exercise is from Chapter 3, “The Nervous System” in the book, Health Is Simple.
The Cross Crawl Exercise – Crawling is not merely a step toward walking. Infants learn to crawl because crawling actually helps strengthen the communication between the two hemispheres of the brain. Many of us either did not have sufficient experience in the crawling mode, were made to walk too early, or have developed a brain imbalance by over performing one-sided activities, such as golfing, hammering or shoveling, checking groceries, or vacuuming. Rebalancing offers tremendous benefits.
The following Cross Crawl Exercise is the easiest and best exercise I know for improving that cross patterning in the brain. It is extremely helpful in improving problems with coordination, erratic body movements, an overall sense of confusion, attention deficit disorders, disorientation, problems involving sense of direction and an inability to perform tasks well on both sides of the body. The exercise can also be helpful with vision problems, including reading difficulties, when both eyes do not work well together, or in instances when eye-hand coordination is impaired.
Some people will find this exercise extremely simple, while others will find it extremely confusing and difficult. The more confusing it is, the more important it is to do.
The Cross Crawl can be done lying on your back or standing in place, but I would suggest you start out lying down. Cross Crawl ExcerciseLie on your back with both arms resting comfortably at your sides and the palms of your hands facing downward. Begin by raising your right arm straight over head, bending your left knee toward your chest at the exact same time.
As you raise your right arm overhead, turn your head to look at your right arm. Simultaneously perform the arm, leg, and head motions, and then move back to the starting position.
Next, raise your left arm overhead, bend your right knee toward your chest, and turn your head to look at your left arm. Remember: perform all movements quickly and simultaneously. Do 25 repetitions for both the right and left sides.
As this exercise gets easier, you can add the motion of your eyes to the sequence. Begin by raising your arm, following the motion of your hand with your eyes. When that becomes second nature, move your eyes in the opposite direction of your hand without moving your head. For example, as your head turns to face your right arm, move your eyes to the far left. As your head and arm turn back to the left, move your eyes to the far right.
The more permutations you add, the better your brain will like it. This exercise introduces myriad possibilities into the nerve system. It allows you to improve the communication between your right and left brains, as well as to improve the ability of your nerve system to handle multiple tasks. Crosscountry skiing and swimming also use cross patterning and can help improve left-brain-right-brain communication.