Easy and Effective Exercises for Babies

A mother and baby playing with a gymnastic ball

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Infants need at least one hour of exercise each day. By encouraging your child to exercise early on, you will be setting the foundation for a fit lifestyle later as your baby grows up.



Why do Infants Need to Exercise?

A mother giving a massage to her baby

Exercise is essential because it helps infants in their motor development. Strengthening the muscles will help baby to roll over, hold his head up, crawl, and walk. Also, exercise can help baby sleep better and be less fussy.

Useful Baby Exercises For Different Ages

Here are some baby development exercises that you can get your infant to do at different ages to help strengthen the muscles.




1. Exercises For 0-6 Month Old Babies

Babies keep moving their hands and legs and are seldom quiet at this age. Doing exercises with regularity will lead a baby to look forward to spending time with you.

a. Grip the Finger





This is an exercise to help strengthen muscles in baby’s arms, shoulders, core, and back. This exercise can be started sometime after six weeks of age.

How to Do This Exercise




Lay baby on his back and offer your index fingers for him to grasp. As soon your baby gets a firm grip, gently pull back your hands. Do this till the baby is almost in a sitting position or near to your face. Then, slowly ease him back down.

b. Tummy Time





Babies tend to spend a majority of their time lying on their backs. It is important to put your baby on his stomach for a few minutes at a time to encourage the development of muscles in the stomach, shoulders, back, and neck. It is one of the exercises to help baby crawl well.

How to Do This Exercise




Put baby down on his tummy on a play mat or a firm mattress. Initially baby may not do much, but slowly your child will push himself up with the forearms to look around.

c. Cycle Away





A good way of providing baby relief from gas troubles, it also helps strengthen the abs, legs, hips, and knees. This infant exercise is good for baby’s range of motion and to enhance flexibility.

How to Do This Exercise




Place baby on his back on a firm surface. Then hold baby’s legs with your hands and slowly move one leg towards the chest while stretching the other as if pedalling a bicycle.

d. Lifting Weights





This is a great exercise to help improve baby’s hand-eye coordination besides strengthening the shoulder, arm, and hand muscles. Start this exercise once the baby is adept at grasping items.

How to Do This Exercise




Put baby in a bouncy chair or high chair. Place an assortment of objects and encourage him to pick them one by one. Get baby to choose an item, examine it, and then place it back before moving to the next one.

2. Exercises For 6-12 Month Old Babies

Most babies at this age are attempting to sit up on their ownSome babies might be trying to crawl or be mobile in some way. By 11 months a good number of babies can also stand up with support.


a. Try the Toe to Ear Move

Targeted at baby’s leg and calf muscles, this is among exercises to help baby walk comfortably later on.

How to Do This Exercise

Get baby to lie on his back. Then keep his leg straight as you slowly move the right toe to the left ear and back. Repeat this with the other foot.


b. Do The Wheelbarrow

Baby is sure to have fun with this exercise. One of the effective baby head control exercisesthe wheelbarrow targets the whole body.

How to Do This Exercise

Get baby to lie on his stomach. Then put your hand on his tummy and lift up the lower half of his body slowly. The upper body weight has to be supported by baby’s arms and hands.


c. Tug Up Baby

Ideal for enhancing strengthening baby’s back and core muscles, this is akin to the sit-ups that adults do. Here, you do the hard work while baby has all the fun.

How to Do This Exercise

Grasp both of your baby’s forearms and pull him up to a sitting posture. Ensure that his back is upright. Then slowly lay him back down flat on the surface.


d. Climb a Mountain

This game helps blend play time with exercise time. It is ideal for building up the leg muscles.

How to Do This Exercise

You can sit on the floor or a firm surface with legs extended and bent at the knees. Place baby on your lap and hold him firmly. Then lean back a little and get baby to walk over your body.

3. Exercises For 1-2 Years Old Babies

Exercises at this age are targeted at helping baby achieve control over his body.

a. Try the Lay-Back

This is aimed at the muscles on baby’s back as well as the abdomen and arm.

How to Do This Exercise

Lay on the floor with the baby lying flat on his back between your legs which are bent at the knee. Grasp baby’s arms and wrists as you pull him up to a sitting position before lowering him back.

b. Touch and Feel

Aimed at strengthening baby’s upper back, legs, arms, and shoulders, this exercise also boosts flexibility.

How to Do This Exercise

Place baby on your lap facing front and leaning against you. Grasp his right ankle and left hand as you slowly bring them together. Then slowly stretch out the arm and the leg.

c. Try Squatting

Ideal for strengthening those legs, quadriceps muscles, and knees to help baby walk and run better.

How to Do This Exercise

Stand next to each other and ask the baby to mimic your moves. Bend your knees and come down to the floor and squat. Place your hands on the floor for support and then come back up.

d. Hip Lift

Besides helping baby with flexibility, this exercise makes his back muscles stronger.

How to Do This Exercise

Place your baby on the back with his knees bent and feet on the floor. Put your hand under his waist while you support his back. Get your baby to lift his trunk up and hold the position for a few seconds. Then ease him back.

Always exercise with the baby when he is in a good mood. And remember not to force your baby to do any exercise that he does not like doing or finds difficult to complete.