Health & Fitness: C'Mon Now, Shape It Up, Baby

Baby Tot workouts are booming, but do children benefit?

"Let's do our daily playercise," burbles Instructor Jackie Rubenstein, as she launches into a nursery-like rhyme: "Open, shut them, give a little clap, clap, clap, and put them in your lap, lap, lap . . ." On cue, 19 mothers seated in a circle on the floor grasp the wrists of the toddlers before them and dutifully push and pull tiny arms and hands. Rubenstein changes her tune, tykes are settled on their backs, and mothers pedal little limbs bicycle- style. Then to a third ditty, with youngsters in their laps, mothers inch their hips forward to the center of the...

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