That cute little thing we did as babies, that our parents couldn't wait to see us do, is actually one of the best exercises around for someone in my condition. Obviously, there is a reason we crawl before we can walk, and that reason has never been more clear to me than now.
A PT once told me that crawling was something I should be doing as much as I could, and I remember scoffing at him and thinking to myself "I'm a grown adult, I'm not going to crawl!" I've had to eat those words as of late.
I have done a bit of crawling here and there, and it always felt so odd to me, but I thought I would give it a try. Lately, since my hip flexors are still so weak, and I get frustrated at how difficult it is to lift my legs against gravity, I have decided that crawling is probably something I should be doing every single day, even if just for a few minutes each day. I am able to lift my legs toward my chest with much more ease since they are not going against gravity, and while crawling I consciously contract my abdominals, giving each of those muscle groups a much needed workout that is a lot harder to get any other way.
On Monday of this week, I crawled around my living room floor playing with my dog. I purposely crawled slow and with great intent, contracting all those muscles that need it, and I crawled as fast as I could while still trying to maintain good form and always keeping my abs contracted. I sat down in between and played with the dog, throwing her bone, crouching down with her and pretending to be a dog... anything that made it more fun to be on the floor doing such a childlike exercise.
Turns out; it is now Wednesday and I'm still sore! My abs, obliques, hip flexors, and basically any muscle associated with my trunk and hips is sore as hell. All a great sign that this is definitely something I need to be doing a lot more frequently.
Aside from being a great exercise, it's fun. If I stop looking at it as something ridiculous, and start looking at it as an opportunity to play and find my youth, I will be much more likely to continue to do this on a regular basis. And the fact that it is working muscles and making me stronger can just be that added bonus. The "gravy", so to speak.
So for anyone who is in a similar situation and needs a good exercise to strengthen their trunk as well as other muscles that are harder to strengthen from a standing position -- crawl! You'll be glad you did!