Babies need exercise too: An easy age-based guide for parents to follow

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With about one-third of children living in the United States who are overweight or obese, most mothers know their kids should be getting at least an hour of exercise each day. Exert not only helps with weight control, but it helps kids construct healthy muscles, bones and joints, improves their self-esteem, helps them sleep better, and may even avoid depression later on in life, a January 2017 survey in the periodical Pediatrics found.

However, experts say the time to get kids moving isnt when they take their first steps but instead weeks after theyre born.

What we know about development is that every stage builds one thing upon another and the brain-behavior relationships are constructed easier when youre younger, Jane Clark, PhD, prof and chair of the department of kinesiology at the University of Maryland, told Fox News.

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Just as talking, reading and singing to children promotes cognitive and speech growing, motion from the very beginning helps children facilitate their engine milestones.

Tummy time is babys first exercise .
At around 6 weeks, you should feel comfy throwing a blanket down on the flooring and putting your baby down on it because thats the beginning of exercise and motion, Dr. Corinn Cross, a board-certified pediatrician in Los Angeles and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics( AAP ), told Fox News.

Tummy time every day helps children construct their upper torso strength so they can hold up their chiefs, push up and then later roll over, crawling, pull up to stand and eventually walk.

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Starting tummy period early can also promote freedom and stop you from having to strap your baby in an infant seat, swaying or bouncer, or set him in a playard when you need to get things done. I reckon[ mothers] do it out of safety, but I think you just have to find a safe place, Cross said.

Do children need fitness grades?
Mommy and me yoga, gymnastics and music grades are all great ways to get your baby moving, but dont sweat it if its not possible for their own families because your baby wont lag behind on his milestones, Cross said.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics( AAP ), there isnt enough proof that these grades promote physical activity or avoid obesity, but they say children should have a safe, nurturing and minimally structured play environment.

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So find natural routes for your baby to move and interact at home and with other children at the park, a childrens museum or on playdates, for example.

Sing, dance and move with your baby.
Experts say mothers should avoid putting their children in newborn car seats, strollers, and bouncers when its not necessary and avoid devoting their children a phone, iPad or digital device to distract them.

Instead, natural play is a great way to get children moving. Sing, dance and bounce your baby, and lift him up in the air. Comprise your baby on your lap, encouraged to stand up, and then slightly lean him to each side. Youre actually getting them to make adjustments in their own bodies, in their torso muscles and in their legs, Clark said.

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As your baby get older, encouraged to crawling and sit up by placing blocks, cups and toys he can reach for in front of him. You put toys in front of them and theyre going to be more active, theyre going to move, and that sets them up better for life, Cross said.

Get toddlers moving.
The Society of Health and Physical Educators( SHAPE America) recommends toddlers get 30 minutes of structured physical activity and at the least 60 minutes of unstructured physical activity every day. According to the organization, toddlers also should not be sedentary for more than an hour except when theyre sleeping.

However, current realities is that many toddlers fall short. Preschoolers in child care middles simply get 48 minutes a day of activity and simply 33 minutes a day are spent outside, a 2015 survey in the periodical Pediatrics found.

Whats more, simply 19 percent of kids play outside and get at least an hour of exercise every day, a 2012 survey by the YMCA found.

Providing a chance for motion early on will ideally help kids not only have the skills but also the confidence to participate in athletics, martial arts and dance when theyre older.

Youre not going to be physically active if the only thing you can do is stroll, Clark mentioned. If you dont have the ability, you wont have the confidence.

Julie Revelant is a health journalist and a consultant who offer content marketing and copywriting services for the healthcare industry. She’s also a mommy of two. Read more about Julie at revelantwriting.com .

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