Some of the exercises for infants include bicycling exercise, finger towing exercise, tummy time exercise, head lifting exercise, chest stretch exercise, tug up exercise, toe-to-ear exercise, elbow stand exercise, waving exercise, dancing and rolling exercise, etc.
Everyone knows the importance of exercising regularly and eating right for a healthy body; but did you know that exercise is not only for adults and older kids? Even infants need daily physical activity. According to the National Association of Sports and Physical Education, children of all ages, including infants, toddlers and preschoolers, require 60 minutes of physical activity every day. They should not be sedentary for more than one hour at a time during waking hours. Studies show that children who grow up with a daily exercise routine are less likely to become obese or suffer from health problems related to obesity.
During the first year of your baby’s life, it is important that you help develop your baby’s muscles so that those muscles are able to perform tasks more efficiently as he grows older. You can do exercises for stretching while you play with your baby and they are a good way to promote development of muscles while you spend quality time with your little bundle of joy.
Top 11 Exercises For Infants
It is vital to keep your baby active from the very start, to ensure that he can learn and practice developmental skills. Making sure that your baby gets exercise every day also helps in the development of his heart and lungs. Here are 11 exercises that are perfect for infants:
1. Bicycle exercise: For this exercise, move your little one’s legs in bicycle kicks while he lies on his back. Take his feet and thrust one leg towards his chest while the other is stretched out. This means guiding his legs in a circular motion like the movement of pedaling a bike. Do this three times, pause and then do it again. Make sure that you are gentle and the pressure is kept light. This is also a soothing exercise for colicky babies.
2. Finger towing exercise: Let your little one lie on his back and put your two index fingers forward. When he grasps them, slowly lift your hands. As you do this, your baby will try harder to hold on tightly. Lift him up and gently drop him down.
3. Tummy time exercise: Place your little one face down on a firm surface like a floor mat made of foam. During the first one or two months of his life, your baby will not be able to do much, but when he grows up a little more, he will start making an attempt to turn or lift his head and push himself up so that he can look around. This exercise will promote flexibility of your baby’s upper back and shoulder.
4. Head lifting exercise: For this exercise, place your little one in a vertical position next to your shoulder. When he is in this position, your baby can lift his head for a short while. You should remember to make sure that you provide good support to his back.
5. Chest stretch exercise: This is an exercise that helps in promoting flexibility of your baby’s upper body. Begin by placing your little one on his back and then, get him to grasp your thumbs. Next, stretch your baby’s arms out wide and back over so that they cross over his chest. Repeat several times, but make sure that you do not exert too much pressure.
6. Tug up exercise: First, clutch your little one’s forearms and pull him up gradually until he is in a sitting position. You should make sure to keep his back upright while you are doing this. Slowly and gently put him back to his previous position the surface. Repeat this exercise 4 times. It will help in promoting flexibility of your little one’s upper body.
7. Toe-to-ear exercise: First, place your little one on his back. Keeping his leg straight, slowly and gently move his right big toe towards his left ear. Slowly bring it back to the starting position. Next, bring his left big toe to his right ear. Repeat the exercise 5 times. This is a great exercise that will make your baby’s legs flexible and strong.
8. Elbow stand exercise: First, place your little one on his tummy and keep his elbows directly under his shoulders with his forearms on the ground. Clutch and lift his trunk and hips to form a 45-degree angle. Let him relax on his forearms. Try to elevate his legs a little more while making sure that it does not knock his nose.
9. Waving exercise: This is a simple yet effective exercise that benefits your little one’s entire body. Gently take his arms and lift them up. Next, wave your baby’s arms from side to side and then, up and down. Make sure that the waving is not too rigorous. Repeat the exercise 5 times.
10. Dancing: One of the most fun exercises for your little one and you is the dancing exercise. All you need to do is put on some catchy music and dance away with your baby. Carry your baby in your arms or in a carrier or sling. Not only does your baby get important exercise, but also laughs and gurgles with joy, which is another kind of exercise that is equally important.
11. Rolling exercise: This is another exercise that benefits your baby’s entire body. First, make him lie down on his back and help him roll back to front and then front to back. You can also place him on his tummy and gently roll him back and forth.
Importance Of Exercise For Infants
Nowadays, the average child spends a lot of time indoors, watching television or play computer games. As mentioned earlier, it is important to make exercise and physical activity a part of your baby’s daily routine so that you not only help in developing his body, mind and motor skills but also ensure that he grows up to be physically active. An active child is less likely to suffer from obesity and other health problems as he older and becomes an adult.
Source: Jeff Picard
- Having a fun daily baby exercise regimen is also important as it helps in the development of different organs in your little one’s body. When you have fun with him and he laughs with excitement, he breathes faster, which is great for his heart and lungs, as mentioned earlier.
- Making your baby grab your fingers and other things helps in developing his fine motor skills as well. This is an important part of a baby’s growth and development, making daily exercise highly important. The earlier you start, the better. Exercise and physical activity plays an important role not only in making your baby’s body healthy and strong but in building his personality as well.
- Infancy is the time that pathways and connections to the muscles are developed in the brain. If a baby does not get enough physical exercise, he may miss out on the opportunity to make brain-muscle connections that are strong and make physical activity easier and more fun as he grows older. Therefore, physical exercise results in the type of development that may play a very important role in a child’s health in later life.
- If your child enjoys physical exercise as a baby, he will definitely grow to become more active as an adult, and as a result, healthier as well. If you have not started already, it is time to start getting active with your little one and exercise every day while you play and bond with each other.
With these exercises, the overall health of your baby can be improved gradually in the months and years to come.