Many women may find it hard to find time to exercise after giving birth as they have their hands full attending to their newborn babies.
They may also feel guilty about leaving their infants with someone else in order to exercise.
But new mothers can incorporate bonding into their exercise time, said Ms Ng Shin Huey, a senior physiotherapist at the rehabilitation department at KKWomen’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH).
Doing baby press-ups is one way to exercise and bond with baby at the same time. It helps to increase a woman’s core strength, triceps muscles and, at the same time, improves her baby’s sense of balance.
However, good neck strength is essential for this exercise, so it is best to do this after the baby is four months old, said Ms Ng.
A new mum could also do abdominal curls with her baby sitting on her abdomen to improve core strength.
Start these exercises only two or three months after delivery, said Ms Ng. If the mother had a caesarean section, she should check with her doctor first before doing these exercises.
Children, in general, are naturally physically active and love to move around, said Ms Dabie Wu, a physiotherapist at the rehabilitation department at KKH.
It is important to provide opportunities for young children to be active as they need exercise for growth and development.
Physical activity helps to strengthen their muscles and bones, control their weight and keep their energy levels up. It also keeps their minds alert, said Ms Wu.
Parents should choose age-appropriate activities which are fun to keep children motivated and build their love for physical activities.
The challenge is to find time for children to exercise daily, with increasing demands in school, lack of active role models and busy working parents, she added.
Parents can set an example by taking them to the playground and encouraging participation in active sports.
Toddlers and pre-schoolers need play activity several times a day and children aged six and above require one hour of daily physical activity, said Ms Wu.
This could take the form of free play at home, activities in school or organised lessons in a sport.
Pre-schoolers need activities geared towards building fundamental skills such as kicking or throwing a ball, balancing or hopping on one leg and running an obstacle course.
They could also do back strengthening exercises in order to gain good posture.
All children have the potential to be physically fit and a parent’s positive attitude makes a world of difference, said Ms Wu.
Ms Ong Ghim Hui, a senior physiotherapist at the rehabilitation department at KKH, demonstrates the bonding exercises with a baby model. Ms Ng’s son, Casius Tong, four, demonstrates the exercises for children.
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