From swimming to somersaults… Infants, toddlers take to a ‘fit lifestyle’
Parents are ensuring their children as young as six months old are introduced to fitness early to help them improve their flexibility, motor skills and more
BENGALURU: Darsh Devaiah has a fixed daily schedule. He eats, sleeps, attends daycare and spends time with his parents. For two months, the eight-month-old has also been attending swimming classes twice a week and recently managed to do a two-second free back float.
Darsh is one of the many kids who have enrolled for swimming lessons where children between six months and older learn to stay safe in the water. Nirala Bopanna Rai, a swimming teacher who conducts these classes, says parents are increasingly looking at such options for their little ones. “These kids are just learning to crawl. Since resistance to water is higher, they are able to control their body better and hence will be more confident on land too,” she adds.
Many parents are also enrolling their children into yoga and gymnastics. Concerned about children falling prey to an unhealthy lifestyle, Chandani Asrani enrolled her son Viren (4) in yoga when he was three. “It was best to start early because at a later age, he might think yoga is boring,” she says.
Similarly, Sarala M thought the best time to introduce her son Sai Vaibhav (4) into gymnastics was when he was a year and eight months old. She says: “He’s more flexible now and doesn’t fear heights. He can jump from seven feet height without hesitation.”
Every Tuesday, the RnR Fit gymnasium comes to life with 10-15 enthusiastic students, aged between 2.5 years and four. The instructors often repeat the same instruction over till students follow them. Sometimes, a child runs off with a giggle, only to be rounded back to the group. The first 30-minutes involve running, jumping over mats, climbing ropes, practising wall-supported handstands and hanging from bars. “The exercises are not strenuous and we have at least two coaches for 15 kids,” says Vivienne Vidyasagar, owner, RnR Fit Gymnastics Academy. Currently, Vidyasagar has 20-25 children in the recreational gymnastics group for two to four-year-olds.
Yoga teacher Divya Nichani allows parents to accompany the kids in the two-and-a-half to five years batch on the first day and tries to wean the children off this dependence. The classes include the use of props, toys and songs. In Nichani’s classes, kids sometimes lie on mats facing each other as they blow air and try to keep a balloon afloat between them. “They keep their palms on their stomach to pay attention to breathing,” she says.
Such classes also help cut down on kids’ gadget time. “Our son used to sit in front of the TV for three hours. This has now reduced,” say Shikha and Ujjwal Dalmia, whose son Ivaan (4) has been attending gymnastics classes for a few months.
Such activities can aid a child’s motor and behavioural traits, said Dr Yogesh Gupta, paediatrician, Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road. “However, they will have a positive impact only when done in a structured manner and under supervision.”