Start Early: Exercises for Babies and Toddlers
It's never too early to start exercising with your children, however young they are. But if you are going to start early with exercises for babies and toddlers, it is absolutely crucial that you make sure the exercises are suitable. It goes without saying that babies will not need any strenuous activity. Instead, think of each movement of their limbs an exercise in themselves - each movement they make towards crawling and then walking as an advancement in their exercise regime.
Exercise in babies and toddlers is as much about their development and co-ordination as any ideas of fitness. Babies are resilient and will enjoy the exercises which you do with them, and, more importantly, will enjoy exercise as they grow older. It is far preferable for them to see exercise as something they do as a matter of course rather than something which they have to be forced into as an older child.
Baby Exercise ClassesMore and more baby exercise classes are springing up for parents to take their youngsters to. The benefits of these classes are numerous - but the main advantage of them is that parents will learn how to help their babies advance their co-ordination skills.
Babies are trained and taught how to sit up, roll over, and, when they are ready, stand up. These exercises help to strengthen their muscles and develop their co-ordination. This will be worked on further with some basic hand to eye co-ordination exercises which will keep your baby's mind active as well as their body. But as well as the obvious fitness benefits to exercise classes, like other activities you do with your baby, they offer the chance to meet other parents and children. And if you all have a shared interest, such as exercise, you may then find you will want to meet up to continue your interests away from the classes as well and perhaps even with the rest of your family, thus having a knock-on effect on the fitness of the whole of your clan.
Exercise Through PlayIf you cannot find a baby exercise class or do not like the idea, then your baby or toddler can get plenty of exercise by playing in their normal way. It is important to keep them active and not just sit them down in front of the TV. Good habits instilled in them at a young age are far more likely to last a lifetime - as are bad habits, such as a sedentary lifestyle. By playing with your baby or toddler and encouraging movement, they will stay fit as a matter of course, just as nature intended.
Starting early with exercises is as much about good habits to get into as anything more strenuous. In fact, if you approach the idea of baby exercises with too much vigour, you may well do more harm than good. So take advice from nurses, health visitors and organisations such as the National Childbirth Trust before you begin any exercise with your children. If you do decide to go to classes, you will find that you and your baby bond over exercise as well as the other bonds you already have.