Crawling as an infant leads to many positive neurological and structural benefits as a baby becomes a child and an adult. An old adage states that you need to learn to crawl before you learn to walk. Those instructions offer sage wisdom. Research shows that a major component of quality health and development in a child trace back to cultivating a healthy spine. The spine houses the spinal cord and protects nerve roots while also playing home to densely populated neurons that help provide proper nutrition to the brain through movement. The spine serves as the motor for the brain.
A normal, healthy child and adult spine contains three proper curves from a side-view and should be straight like an arrow when assessed from front to back. However, a baby is not born with all three curves. Appropriate spinal curvature develops in the first four years of life. One of the ways a baby develops normal curvature in the back and neck comes by crawling. Parents should celebrate and encourage crawling with their developing toddlers before they begin to walk. Crawling also helps to develop strong brain connections through stimulating cross-crawl patterns when a baby learns to move its arms and legs in tandem motion across the floor.
Research published in 2007 showed that abnormal curvature in the neck leads to stretching of the spinal cord, diminished blood supply in and around the head and neck, and early onset stages of disc degeneration. Extensive research shows that poor spinal health influences every aspect of human health and performance because of a direct relationship with the nervous system.
Let children crawl before they learn to walk. Crawling provides an easy and important strategy to help develop a normal spine and nervous system in a child. As a child ages into teen years and adulthood, attention should continue to be paid to spinal health strategies that focus on proper structure and function. Maintaining good posture while sitting and implementing effective spinal health habits as an adult will minimize the long-term dangers of poor function due to abnormal spinal health.
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