As a 34 year-old woman, the thought of crawling seems, well, silly. But, when you are a disabled 34 year-old woman who is trying to walk again, it's one of the best exercises you can do. Getting down on the floor and crawling is harder than it looks, believe me, I know from experience.
I was told years ago by one of my therapists that crawling would be an excellent exercise for me to do on a regular basis. Although I tried it over the years here and there, I never really considered doing it on a daily basis as a strength training exercise, until recently. A couple of months ago I got down on the floor sans knee pads and crawled around for as long as I could -- about 15 minutes. The next day my core was so sore I could hardly move. Even laughing was painful. I told myself this was something I needed to do every single day, but my hard laminate floors made it very difficult and painful on my knees. So, the other day, I went out and got myself some lightweight foam knee pads for about 4 bucks. They are soft enough to protect my knees, and are smooth enough on the outside so as not to ruin my floors. I strapped those babies on today and crawled for about 5 minutes before I was totally out of breath and thought I might die. I'm going to take that as a good sign that crawling is definitely an exercise I should be doing.
One of my biggest weaknesses in my legs are my hip flexors. These are the muscles that pull your knees up to your chest. A very important function of walking is the ability to pull your leg up (like when you march) a bit so the foot can move forward without dragging on the ground. These muscles are so weak, and my legs so heavy, that doing this exercise against gravity has proved not only a challenge, but nearly impossible. Crawling solves this problem as I am able to pull the leg up toward my chest with each "step" I take to move myself along the floor. With repetition these muscles should gain enough strength to then be able to do this against gravity while walking. How exciting is that!
The hip flexors are just one muscle that will benefit from this exercise. My entire core; abs, obliques, lower back, hips, glutes, etc, come into play just to do this one activity. It's really quite exciting.
Today I crawled for what would equate to 100 steps, and I have added that to my step count for today. I will be doing this exercise as often as I can -- daily being my ultimate goal. Perhaps I should invest in some kind of knee pad that also cleans my floor as I go :^)