Baby Exercises?! How 1 Simple Move Can Make Baby Stronger

Baby exercises may sound silly, but this simple move helps baby build strength that comes in handy as they start crawling, standing, walking, and beyond.

Core Exercise for Babies! (Seriously) by Mama Natural Featured

Does your baby have a six-pack? Does she blast her quads? Are her lats ripped? All joking aside, baby exercises really can help your little one reach important milestones, like sitting up, crawling, and walking.

Of course, baby exercises aren’t hardcore workouts—just a few moves you can do while playing with your newborn.

Baby Exercises: The Best Core Exercise for Baby

You don’t need to spend hours Googling baby exercises—this one simple move will help strengthen baby’s core, putting him/her on the fast track to sitting, crawling, and even walking.

My son Griffin loved doing this simple move and got the hang of it quickly. Watch the video below to see us demonstrate this baby exercise!

How to do this simple core exercise for baby:

  1. Lay baby down, nice and straight.
  2. Take baby’s hands, and let them pull themselves up, activating the core.
  3. Once baby is in a sitting position, gently guide baby into a final standing position.
  4. Repeat going back down. (This time, baby will go from standing to sitting, then from sitting to standing.)
  5. Repeat the entire sequence as many times as baby wants.

Note: It’s important to let baby lead, so they can really work on strengthening their core. If you pull or help baby, it won’t have the same effect. Just be there to hold and guide him.

Other Simple Baby Exercises

Of course, there are some other easy baby exercises you can try right in the comfort of your own home, including:

  • Tummy time: Pediatricians recommend starting tummy time right away, as it’s important for strengthening the muscles of the neck, shoulders, arms, and belly. Check out this post for everything you need to know about tummy time.
  • Bicycling baby’s legs: It’s a tried-and-true way to help alleviate gas, but bicycling baby’s legs also helps strengthen baby’s abs, hips, legs, and knees.
  • Happy baby pose: This yoga pose is called happy baby for a reason—it’s a position many baby’s learn on their own. It’s a great way for baby to stretch and it opens and strengthens the hip muscles. If baby’s not quite there yet, you can help him/her along by laying them on their back and gently stretching his/her feet towards his/her hands.

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Why Baby Exercises Are So Important

Have you ever heard of Container Baby Syndrome? It’s a real condition that affects babies who spend too much time in carseats, strollers, playpens, bouncer seats, and other “containers.” These seats allow for little to no movement, which can cause severe problems like flat head syndrome, decreased muscle strength, poor coordination, ADHD, obesity, and more.

“The earlier infants, toddlers, and preschool children get exposure to daily movement and exercise, the better the likelihood of healthy development in later life.” — Jane Clark, PhD, professor and chair of the department of kinesiology at the University of Maryland

To help educate parents about the rise in Container Baby Syndrome and the importance of baby exercises, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) released the first-ever set of exercise guidelines for babies.

Exercise Guidelines for Babies

According to the NASPE, parents and caregivers should use the following guidelines when it comes to baby exercises:

  1. Infants should interact with caregivers in daily physical activities that are dedicated to exploring movement and the environment.
  2. Caregivers should place infants in settings that encourage and stimulate movement experiences and active play for short periods of time several times a day.
  3. Infants’ physical activity should promote skill development in movement.
  4. Infants should be placed in an environment that meets or exceeds recommended safety standards for performing large-muscle activities.
  5. Those in charge of infants’ well-being are responsible for understanding the importance of physical activity and should promote movement skills by providing opportunities for structured and unstructured physical activity

Once Baby Gets a Little Older…

Once baby is walking, NASPE guidelines for toddlers suggest baby gets at least 30 minutes of structured physical activity and at least 60 minutes of unstructured physical activity each day. What’s more? Your toddler should not be sedentary for more than 60 minutes at a time—except when sleeping. (source)

Check out this post to find great outdoor activities for the whole family. Plus, read this post to find out how to raise a low-media child.

How About You?

Did you do baby exercises with your infant? Share your favorites in the comments below.

Genevieve Howland

About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 85,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.

13 Comments

  1. My son is 5 month old and he doesn’t hold the toy’s and roll over .. not sure what needs to be done or is it normal

  2. Rushing your baby through milestones is extremely unwise. It might win you some extra attention in your circle of friends, but what about natural development? Our bodies grow at different rates and develop naturally on their own, and unless there is a delay and a need to intervene, doing so will possibly set up that child for learning issues and quite possibly physical impairments. I am an educator and have worked with over 100 infants and have witnessed young parents rushing through or even skipping a critical milestones only to have their child struggle later on in school.
    Enjoy each developing stage of your infant. It’s not a contest to see who gets there first. What you might be bragging about today, might have you and your child feeling miserable down the road when he/she is struggling in school.

  3. Strengthening your baby naturally as you say following the baby’s lead is excellent. But please don’t encourage mom’s rush to have their babies “walking in no-time.” I’m not sure where this rush to walking came from, but skipping or shortening the critical crawling stage is vital to proper mental development.

    • At around 2.5 to 3 months our baby wanted to grab our fingers and pull himself up just like this his head control was great, so we let him do it, and he loved it. I got the email with this exercise, and I was so glad because I wasn’t sure if I should let him. He is now 4 months and rolls over, and he army crawls all over the room.

      • Oops, I didn’t mean for this to be a reply to yours, just on main post. I’m sorry!!

  4. Interesting, my baby’s physiotherapist did not allow to do this kind of exercise. She said only trained physicians do it to evaluate how well the baby holds their head. My baby is now 4.5 months old, can he be standing like Griffin? How old was Griffin when this video was made?

  5. When can I start the exercises. My little girl is 6 weeks now.

  6. My LO is 6 months old, can I take him for swimming as swimming is also a good exercise for babies.

  7. my baby is almost 4 months…can i do this exercise wd him..he can hold his neck but not very well ,it has some jerky motion in it…i wanted to ask if this would be early for him..?

  8. this is actually a very nice video I enjoyed it, thnx :). I might try this too of course if I have a kid in the future hopefully, many thanks once again, bye :)_

  9. lol ok cool 🙂

  10. I’ve been using this off and on with my 4 month old…she is SO strong and I really want to help her to sit up earlier than what the milestone is…I think it’s 8 months (the milestone). My mother-in-law said she had her babies sitting up by about four to five months…I guess she propped them up with pillows and it helped to strengthen their muscles!!

    • Good for you! Yes, the more they practice, the stronger they are and Griffin LOVES to practice! He’s been strong from the beginning. Now he is army crawling… so fun!


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