You don’t need to be a kid to enjoy the playground. If you find yourself at the park on a sunny Saturday morning with the kids, then turn it into an easy and effective workout opportunity for yourself. Building a healthy lifestyle for you and your family means making choices that keep you on the path to wellness. Instead of sitting on the bench, choose to get active with your kids using readily available equipment to build strength, flexibility, and stamina.
Remember your childhood when the monkey bars were such a fun challenge? What about climbing up the slide just to see if you could do it? Or swinging so high and jumping off, hoping you landed on your feet and didn’t break anything? Playgrounds inspire kids to move their bodies and get curious about what they can accomplish. Now it is your turn to have some fun again!
Your easy and affordable workout
So, you are ready to try this whole working out with playground equipment thing, but where do you start? If one piece of equipment isn’t begging to be climbed, swung from, or played on, then simply start by incorporating exercises you already know, adapted for the great outdoors.
One of the basic movements in your average cardio class, step ups require you finding a platform about one or two steps high, such as a bench or a small set of stairs on the playground. All you need to do is step up and then down for as many reps as you want. If you are craving a little more excitement, try jumping onto the platform instead. Both will exercise your glutes, calves, hamstrings, and thighs as well as your core.
Remember these from gym class? Building your triceps is easy at the playground. Just grab an empty bench or platform (make sure not to get run over by the kids) and stand with your back to it while placing hands on the edge about shoulder width apart. Lower your body and then press up again. The farther your feet are from the bench, the harder this one becomes!
Inclined Pushups and Pikes
Want to add a little twist to your average push up? Use the swings to create a balance challenge! Simply place your feet in the swing, hands on the ground with straight arms and get your body into a pushup position. As you lift and lower using the strength in your arms, you will also be using your core to keep your torso and legs stabilized. If you want to add an additional movement, you can also pike your body, so your feet come toward your hands (but don’t try to touch them). This is a two for one kind of deal, with maximum benefits for those who want to feel toned and strong in their core.
This one is probably the easiest to decipher. Grab a straight bar and start counting reps. Then, switch your grip for a chin-up to work a different set of arm muscles. Bonus points if you challenge your kids on this one as well. Who can do the most pull-ups in your family?
Want to work your legs and glutes some more? Find a flat surface and pretend that you are sitting in a chair. Your knees should be directly above your ankles. Try to hold this for a minute or more if you can.
Gravity will help you get an even better workout on this one. Place your feet at the top of the slide, fitting them into the handles or bars to stabilize yourself. Lay your body down the length of the slide so that your head is toward the bottom. Now try some crunches! Do as many reps as you can but remember that you will need to save one big sit up for the end to get you off the slide.
After you have exhausted all your formal adult exercises, it is time to have some childlike fun. Test out your abilities on the monkey bars. You might be surprised as to how much strength it takes to move your body across. Climb ladders, walls, slides, and even try to make an obstacle course out of the play equipment. Your kids will be thrilled when you challenge them to America Ninja Warrior style feats of athleticism. Best of all? You will be building healthy habits for your whole family. Now get moving!