For adults, it is important to get a balanced diet and regular exercise. Unsurprisingly, your baby has the same requirements. Infants and toddlers should be exercising for about one hour a day to develop properly. Plus, if they are raised to have strong exercise habits, these will likely carry over to the future.
Why Do Babies Need to Exercise?
When you are going for a walk, it is better to allow your child to walk with you for at least 10 to 15 minutes instead of riding in the stroller. Walking and regular exercise are necessary for helping the child’s physical health develop. The earliest years of life are some of the most important for muscle formation and development.
Exercises helps children develop a strong, healthy foundation for the future. As muscles start to develop early on, the brain builds connections to these muscles. If the baby does not get enough exercise, they may lack the proper connections between their brain and muscles. In addition to lacking these links, they may never learn that exercise can be enjoyable. Starting to exercise at a young age helps children to develop a life-long habit that benefits their physical and mental health.
While genetic traits can make it easier or more difficult to exercise, there is still a significant benefit from having your child exercise at a young age. This will discourage unnecessary weight gain and prevent obesity when they are older. Plus, learning that exercise is enjoyable at this age will make them more likely to enjoy working out as they grow older.
The Best Baby Exercises
Obviously, your child cannot get a gym membership and lift weights. Unlike adults, babies need a different type of exercise. We have divided different exercises into the age groups where they are most important. With practice, children can begin to develop their motor skills and muscles.
Baby Exercises for Your 0-6 Month Olds
1. Tummy Time
Tummy time is extremely important for young babies. Your baby may not be able to do this during the first two months of life, but they will be able to do it later on. Place your child face down on a flat, fairly firm surface like a floor mat or foam mat. Once he is on his stomach, he will try to turn his head and lift himself up on his forearms to look at everything.
2. The Index Finger Game
Put your baby on their back on the bed. Stick out your two index fingers for the baby. Once he grasps your index fingers, gently start to lift your hands. He will try to grasp on tightly, so his body will elevate as you lift him. Make sure to put him back down tenderly so that he does not get hurt.
3. Riding a Bike
One a flat surface, lay your baby down. Grab hold of his feet or the lower parts of his leg. Move one leg in the direction of his chest will pulling the other one straight. Switch legs and do the entire process three times. Once you have done this, step back and let your baby kick and move on his own.
4. Elevate the Head
At this stage of life, your baby’s neck muscles are starting to grow stronger. You can help by elevating their head. Hold the baby in a vertical position near your shoulder for just a short amount of time. Make sure to hold your baby firmly so that he does not get hurt.
Baby Exercises for 6-12 Month Olds
1. Toes to Ears
Put your baby on his back. Make sure that his legs are erect and move his right foot so that his big toe is near his left ear before moving it back to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg and ear. Do this exercise five times for each foot.
2. Tug Time Exercise
Grab the forearms of your little one and gradually pull him into a sitting position. Make sure that his back remains upright. Then, gently put him back onto the ground. Repeat this exercise for a total of four repetitions.
3. Elbow Stand
Put your baby on his belly and have his elbows positioned right below his shoulders. His forearms should be on the ground. Now, hold his hips so that his trunk is elevated at a 45-degree angle from the ground. Next, let your baby relax onto his forearms again. Try to elevate his legs a bit more and make sure that he does not hit his nose on the ground.
Baby Exercises for 1-2 Year Olds
1. Stroke and Hug
Place your baby next to you. Grab hold of his right ankle and hand. Try to bring the foot and hand together, but do not force it or you could hurt him. Then, extend the right leg and left arm above his head. Repeat this exercise three to five times with the first leg before switching to the second leg and arm . Afterward, hold the wrists and hands of your baby so that his arms cross over his own chest in a hug. Extend both arms over his head and repeat for three to five times.
2. Head to Toe
Facing each other, put the soles of your feet on your baby’s feet. Bend forward to curl your body like in a sit up position. Lean back and repeat the exercise 10 times. With any luck, your baby will begin to follow along.
3. Lay Back Time
Sit with your baby lying across your legs. Allow him to hold on to your thumbs as you hold his wrists and forearms using your fingers. Draw him into a sitting position before helping him gently return to the ground. Repeat this exercise five times while making sure that your baby’s head is in line with his spine and does not fall backwards.
4. Lift the Hips
Put your baby on their back. His feet should be flat on the floor, and his knees should be curved upward. Slip your hands behind his waist while supporting his back. Help your baby raise his bottom and hips two to four inches off of the ground. Hold for two to three seconds before lowering him back down to the ground.