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Muscle Tone

Some dancers are very toned; they perform the high jumps and leaps. Others work closer to the ground and provide the beautiful pauses in a routine. Both are needed for a show.

Babies are the same: Some have extremely tight, conditioned muscles, while others are, simply put, mushier. The toned ones tend to be smaller and leaner, while those with lower muscle tone are generally plumper. This is difference can generate unnecessary concern: Softer kids hold their heads upright a little later than others, they sit up a little later, they walk later, and so on. Because of these apparent delays, doctors subject them to unnecessary tests and interventions, such as physical therapy and special exercise. In most cases, this is unnecessary; babies with normal low muscle tone will develop at their own pace. This is different from “congenital hypotoniae,” a serious condition that is marked by extremely low muscle tone and severely delayed milestones, and requires extensive physical therapy.