We won’t really blame you if you’re confused by the title. Anyone would lose their mind if they read the words baby and exercise in the same line. However, when we say 5 exercises to help your baby get stronger, we mean 5 simple body movement combinations that will ensure that your baby’s muscles and bones are stronger, flexible and agiler.
Here’s a list of simple exercises you can follow to ensure that your infant is not only cute and chubby but strong as well:
Tummy Turnover: Infants spend a major chunk of their time lying on their backs. One can call this a relaxed position as there is no pressure on any of the bones or muscles. In Tummy Turnover, an infant is made to lie down flat on his tummy which helps strengthen the muscles in the neck, arms, shoulders, back, and stomach. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, tummy training can start as early as the infant’s first day home from the hospital. During Tummy Turnover, it is ideal that the parent keep the child engaged by interacting with the child through claps, funny faces, noises, toys, etc as it will make the child want to look around.
Baby Sit Up: As the name suggests, this exercise involves making your baby sit in an upright position. As the baby is lying down, sit at his feet and gently lift him up by pulling him by the hands. Initially, you might have to assist him through the entire exercise but as his tummy muscles become stronger, he will be able to sit up with minimum help and over time, do it on his own. You can add an additional step to the sit up exercise by helping him stand up from the sitting position. So in simple terms, the baby goes from a lying position to a sitting position and eventually, in the standing position. Reverse the cycle to complete the exercise. Do not force the infant in case he becomes angry and frustrated. Remember, when it comes to infants, patience is the key.
Weight lifting: Before you get confused again, let us tell you that this is not what it sounds like. Weight lifting exercises for a baby involve picking up toys and objects in order to improve hand-eye coordination, grasping skills and the muscles in his arms, hands, and shoulders. You can use daily household items and or specific toys that your baby likes to play with. Spread all the toys/items in front your baby and then encourage him to pick up the toys one by one. A little help will be required at first but as your baby gets the hang of it, he will start picking up new items in the house and exploring them on his own.
Bicycle: This exercise includes moving the baby’s legs in the circular motion as that of a bicycle. “Put your baby on his back and gently move his legs up and around, as if he were pedaling a bicycle,” says Dr. Chintapalli. This exercise has multiple benefits. It serves as a natural method that helps the baby relieve gas by pushing air out of his system, it works the muscles of the legs, hips, knees, and abdomen and at the same time helps improve flexibility in the lower portion of the body. Repeat the movement 3-5 times and keep interacting with your baby to keep him engaged and interested. It can be a quick and a fun activity for you to do while changing your baby’s diapers.
Full Body Oil Massage: This is not really an exercise but massaging the baby from a young age can do wonders for the baby’s muscles and bones. It helps makes the muscles stronger and more defined. Initially, it is ideal to massage the baby with minimum pressure and after 2-3 months, you can start applying a little pressure depending on how your baby reacts to the pressure. The legs are a good place to start as they are less sensitive than some other parts of the body. Finish off the massage with some firm and long strokes going all the way from your baby’s shoulders to her feet. Massaging also helps relax the baby and put her off to sleep.
Easy and fun, isn’t it?
Go ahead and try out these exercises. They ensure some quality time with your child and stronger muscles in the long run. Win-Win Situation!
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