The Importance of Primal Play In Your Fitness Routine

If you have been following our social media, you will have noticed that come of our skill based games have been getting some attention of late. In the gym we call this block “primal play”.

Each of our games are based around experiential learning, in which the client acquires knowledge by doing and via reflection on their experience. They are full of movement, imagination and self-directed play. This type of learning is increasing rare in society. Society has become more and more academic, rigorously structuring play time, emphasising assessment, drawing a firm line between “work” and “play” and restricting our physical movement. We need to develop more self-directed learning- moving freely and doing activities that we ourselves choose. Movement allows people to connect concepts to action and learn through trial and error.

It is purposeful movement

Memory and movement are linked and the body is a tool for learning, not a roadblock to or a detour away from it. Formal instruction no longer makes something play. In play, the player is choosing to participate, choosing a goal and directing and formulating the rules. When someone is constantly telling you what to do, many of the important developmental benefits of play get lost.

One of the fundamental parts of our primal play games is crawling. Yes crawling, the developmental movement pattern that we were all given the ability to perform is one of the best rehabilitative, restorative and even performances enhancing movement you can do. It’s hard to imagine that crawling, a seemly childish and foolish “exercise”, could be the one thing that improves your health, your mobility, your strength and your performance in any athletic area. It could even improve your ability to think, focus and reason. The varieties of crawling patterns are endless, from commando crawls to baby crawls to lizard crawls, each variety offering a unique stimulus and benefit.

CHALLENGE: If you consider yourself fit and are tempted to overlook the difficulty of crawling just try crawling for 5 minutes without letting your knees touch the ground!!

Crawling is a developmental movement pattern that ties everything about you together. In developing children, crawling activates and integrates different parts of the brain. Through crawling, neural connections and pathways are established in the brain that allows the brain to become more efficient at communicating between left and right hemispheres. The better the brain can communicate and process the information, the better the body moves. Crawling also unites your sensory systems. It integrates your vestibular system (your balance system), your proprioceptive system (your sense of self in space) and your visual system. It can even improve your eye hand coordination.

  • Perhaps the greatest benefit of crawling is that it develops a base of reflexive strength, the original strength you were born to develop. Crawling could be considered as being your first ever strength training program. Your reflexive strength is your body’s ability to anticipate movement before it happens. The faster your reflexes are, the more resilient you are. Your reflexive strength is your foundation of strength.
  • Crawling is the foundation of your gait pattern. It is the contra lateral movement (coordinated opposite limb movement) that our walking pattern is built upon. Crawling teaches our shoulders and hips how to work together in a coordinated fashion. Learning how to control your hips and torso when you crawl will directly improve your midline stability when you walk and run.
  • Crawling also reflexively stimulates the muscles throughout your arms, legs, and torso to fire through the sensory nerves in our hands and feet. Every step you take, every time your hands touch the ground, you are reflexively firing the muscles throughout your body. Every step makes your relaxes just a little more crisp. This is gentle strength training- foundational strength training. Crawling will help you forge a mind, body, earth relationship.
  • Crawling is also a great reset for your central nervous system. It restores your central nervous system, lowers your stress levels and allows you to recover faster from the rigours of your training or your day to day life.
  • Crawling is hard-wired into each one of us. In a world dominated by liner thinking, computers and pre-programmed devices crawling is an antidote to that problem. Even though we are no longer children we still benefit from crawling.
  • Bottom line is, crawling will help you regain your original strength. Crawling can help you restore your original strength and allow you to improve your life in many areas. Your physical strength will improve, your mobility will improve, your mental focus will improve, your response to stress will improve and so will your mood.