BrainyAct Exercise Highlight: Cross Crawl

Today we are going to highlight an exercise that is a staple of our BrainyAct program: Cross Crawl
A cross crawl exercise is a type of movement or physical activity that involves coordinated movement patterns between the opposite sides of the body. The primary purpose of cross crawl exercises is to improve coordination, balance, and communication between the brain’s hemispheres.
The basic idea is to mimic a cross-lateral movement pattern, where the movements of the arms and legs cross the midline of the body. This engages both the left and right brain hemispheres, promoting better communication and integration between them.
A common example of a cross crawl exercise is the “Marching in Place” exercise:
Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
Lift your right knee towards your chest while simultaneously reaching forward with your left hand to touch or get close to the knee.
Return the right foot to the ground.
Repeat the process with the left knee and right hand.
This exercise encourages a cross-lateral movement pattern, helping to strengthen neural connections between the brain’s hemispheres. Cross crawl exercises are often used in activities such as brain gym exercises, physical therapy, and certain types of fitness routines to enhance cognitive function and motor skills.
In BrainyAct, we decided to include a timing element to it to further drive change and increase communication between the hemispheres!
Cross crawl exercises are often included in therapeutic interventions and activities for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) due to their potential benefits in promoting coordination, sensory integration, and overall cognitive function. Here’s how this type of exercise might be beneficial for someone with autism:

Sensory Integration:

Individuals with autism often experience sensory processing challenges. Cross crawl exercises involve coordinated movements and can contribute to sensory integration by providing the brain with organized and purposeful sensory input. This can help individuals better regulate their sensory experiences.

Bilateral Coordination:

Cross crawl exercises encourage the use of both sides of the body in a coordinated manner. Improving bilateral coordination can enhance gross motor skills, fine motor skills, and overall body awareness, which are areas that individuals with autism may find challenging.

Midline Crossing:

Crossing the midline of the body during cross crawl exercises helps improve the integration of the left and right hemispheres of the brain. This integration is crucial for various cognitive functions, including attention, problem-solving, and communication.

Focus and Attention:

Engaging in cross crawl exercises requires concentration and focus on the movements. For individuals with autism who may struggle with attention and concentration, these exercises can serve as a structured and enjoyable way to enhance focus.

Emotional Regulation:

Regular physical activity, including cross crawl exercises, has been shown to contribute to better emotional regulation. Engaging in these activities can provide a positive outlet for excess energy and stress, potentially helping individuals with autism manage their emotions more effectively.

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