As we enter 2017, our family has many things to which we are looking forward, most notably the arrival (G-d willing) of our first grandchild in mid-May. As you can imagine, a hefty portion of our conversations these days revolve around this blessed and life-changing event.

As anxious as we all are for the little lady to arrive, I keep reminding our daughter that she is growing a person…one who currently is only halfway done “incubating”. At only 11 inches in length, the baby is busy developing bones, teeth buds, eyelids, and critical organs, everything necessary for her next big step, Birth.

The Natural Order

We accept that these 9 months must of course precede one’s entrance into the world, just as we are certain that rolling over leads to crawling, which ultimately leads to the taking of giant leaps in productive lives. Yet when it comes to fitness, we often shrug off this basic tenet and choose instead to plunge headlong into the newest, latest and greatest trend being demonstrated on YouTube. As a result, the uptick in exercise-related injuries should come as no surprise. (Think “CrossFit”…enough said!)


Back to our baby scenario: why do we suppose babies crawl at all? According to fitness author Tim Anderson, this simple activity has evolved as a way for humans to develop coordination and unilateral strength, which will eventually pave the way for a lifetime of healthy movement patterns.


As We Age, What Goes Awry?

What happens in the later stages of life, when the mere act of walking, of “being a verb”, becomes a supreme challenge? Haven’t we spent a lifetime perfecting the skill? The old adage “practice makes perfect” might be more appropriately phrased as “practice makes permanent”; very often, we slip into maligned permanent movement patterns that are less than ideal for the design of the human form. What if we were to re-introduce crawling into our lives, or at the very least into our workouts? Might we be able to restructure our brain’s messages across the synapses and return to the movement patterns that served us so well as infants?

A New View On Exercise

Biochemist Katy Bowman, author of Movement Matters, states her philosophy as follows: “It’s not about exercise at all, but about movement. That moving more throughout the day might be better than trying to find the best way to spend that single hour you’ve allotted to [exercise].” When we think of movement, the physicality of getting through each day, do we ponder the accompanying flexibility, range of motion, balance, and ease of joint mobility? Perhaps we ought to open our minds to a reprogramming of our regular movement patterns, some of which may have become dangerously altered due to injuries or accidents, or pure laziness.

By “crawling before we walk”, we come to realize the virtues of careful and prudent “steps”. Instead of going straight toward the newest fitness craze, add in some basics to your workouts this year; just like we hope to see someday in our granddaughter’s motor development, this concept of “crawling” may help you emerge with improved mobility.


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Cathleen Kronemer

Cathleen Kronemer is an NFPT CEC writer and a member of the NFPT Certification Council Board. Cathleen is an AFAA-Certified Group Exercise Instructor, NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer, ACE-Certified Health Coach, former competitive bodybuilder and freelance writer. She is employed at the Jewish Community Center in St. Louis, MO. Cathleen has been involved in the fitness industry for over three decades. Feel free to contact her at She welcomes your feedback and your comments!