Mom-Baby Fitness: Modeling Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Guest Blog by Alana Abbott, DTP certified instructor, writer and mom.

My daughter has been taking Mom-Baby Fitness with me since she was six weeks old. When I became an instructor, she did, too. She is older than the children of most of my students, and, although she has a mind of her own on many of our activities, she enjoys dancing along with the mommies.

Her favorite Christmas gift this past year was a stroller and her own baby doll. The enthusiasm she showed for this pairing of toys reflects to me just how much of an example we moms set for our babies and toddlers – just by showing up and going to class. We often think of going to Mom-Baby Fitness as doing something good for our own fitness and our children’s social development. But it is also good for our children’s fitness!

Childhood Obesity

The media bombards us with facts about the growing childhood obesity epidemic. According to the CDC, childhood obesity in the United States has more than tripled over the last thirty years. To combat the risk of obesity, the CDC recommends healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity. Diet and physical activity are influenced, unsurprisingly, by the child’s family.

Exercise doesn’t just combat obesity, however; it also lowers the risk of children developing type 2 diabetes and helps children develop stronger muscles and bones. By creating an environment where moms show that exercise is fun – through dancing, walking strollers side by side, or chatting while doing strength training – our babies are shown exercise and activity as an enjoyable activity and a behavior that is an everyday part of life.

Active Together

Recent evidence shows that new parents exercise less than they did pre-children, according to a recent report in Pediatrics. Fitting in exercise is a challenge! Involving your child in your exercise helps you create a healthy lifestyle for yourself – and a healthy example for your child. In a recommendation from the Mayo Clinic, the first step in getting your kids off the couch is to set a good example: “Your active lifestyle can be a powerful stimulus for your child. If you want an active child, be active yourself.”

I let my daughter bring her stroller and baby doll to class, so she can do what the mommies are doing. Her active approach is catching on, too – other toddlers are starting to join in!

It is never too early to start modeling healthy habits!

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