Monday, January 23, 2023

Crossing The Midline


The other day during one of the exercise sessions, the leader stated that it was important to exercises that crossed the midline.  Of course, my mind immediately wanted to know why it was important since I'd never heard that before. I know that many of the exercises require me to stretch across the midline but I assumed it was to stretch the body.

Crossing the midline refers to moving one part of the body so it crosses an imaginary vertical line that runs down the middle of the body from head to toe.  It also refers to twisting the body or leaning over across the line.  

Examples of this movement include reaching an arm or leg across the body, twisting or rotating the body like when you put hands out and twist the upper body so one hand is moved around behind the body, or leaning the body over the body such as in a side crunch.  

Technically, crossing the midline is considered a gross motor skill that requires the body to coordinate the hands or feet with the body when the arms or legs move.  In fact it also relates to fine motor skills and bears upon functional skills so if you have trouble crossing the midline, it means you will be challenged performing functional tasks.  Consequently, having the ability to cross the midline actually connects core strength to functionality.

In the end, crossing the midline helps both sides of the brain learn to work together. It is important for the brain to synchronize the two sides of the brain because each side controls different parts of the body and it needs to develop the ability to coordinate both sides for the best results. What is most interesting is that the left side of the brain coordinates the right side of the body while the right side of the brain coordinates the left side of the body. Crossing the midline helps the two sides of the body work together so you can move, twist, reach, etc.

So this is why it is important to include exercises which have you crossing the midline.  It helps develop and keep the signal pathways strong and helps us as we age.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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