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1. Be a stork.
2. Be a cross-stepper
3. Weight it down
4. Be a cross-reacher
5. Speed stack
Wise Fitness
Imagine a line that runs from the middle of the top
of your head straight down to your feet. That’s your
midline. Now, take your right arm and touch your left
toe. Not only have you just done a nice stretch, you’ve
performed an exercise that can help you to learn and
be more creative.
“You’ve crossed the midline. And that can improve
your balance and coordination and even help you
learn new things,” says Sherry McLaughlin, physical
therapist, of Michigan Institute for Human Performance
Inc. (MIHP). “A research study watched people get
thrown off balance to see how they
recovered,” she says. “The study
showed if they were pushed to the
left, they’d cross-step with the right
foot. The most balanced people are
the ones that cross the midline. As
we age, though, we do that less
and less, so exercises that cross
your midline are great ways to
benefit your body and your mind.
Your nervous system will build new
pathways so that your right and left
sides are more equally developed.”
Five Exercises to Cross Your Midline
1.
Be a stork.
Practice standing on one leg as you reach
forward and across your body to the left and right.
2.
Be a cross-stepper.
Stand normally, then take your
right foot and step across your left, walking sideways.
Walk back, crossing your left foot over your right.
3.
Weight it down.
Do the cross-step holding something
heavy.
4.
Be a cross-reacher.
Sit at a table and reach across your
body to touch something on the opposite side of you.
5.
Speed stack.
Using both hands, stack uniform cups
into pyramids as quickly as you can. Google search
“speed stacking,” or visit
www.speedstacks.com
to
see how it’s done.
“Anything that alternates right and left function works,
patting out a rhythm on a countertop,” Sherry adds.
“You can even do an everyday activity like brushing your
teeth with the opposite hand you’d normally use. Your
nervous system is dynamic, and it will grow new pathways
to function, so exercises like these are great things to do if
you feel like you’re stuck in a rut.”
In a Rut? Cross Yourself Out
Sherry
McLaughlin,
M.S.P.T. and
HAP-affiliated
physical
therapist