Staying fit isn’t easy, but if you want to take charge of your body with a new fitness routine, take advantage of resources you have at your disposal. The next time you take the kids outside to play, give yourself the full-body playground workout while you’re there, your body will thank you. Try some of the moves listed below to help you get in shape while you’re out having fun.
Put that Swing to Work on Your Abs
Sitting on a swing and feeling that rush of the wind whipping by has always been fun on the playground. Now it can be part of your free, outdoor gym equipment. When you sit down on the swing, you can target your abs. You’ll need to grab hold of the chains to support you as you lean back. Put your legs out in front of you and make sure they are completely straight. Be sure to point your toes. The next step is to open your legs. They’ll look like a letter V. Cross one leg over the other, go back to the V, and repeat with the other leg. Do this between 12 and 15 repetitions. Your abdominal muscles will be talking to you when you’re done.
Don’t Forget Your Push-Ups!
Push-ups are always a great, go-to exercise for upper body strength, but you don’t have to hit the ground when you’re at the playground. Find a tilted surface on a jungle-gym, such as a ladder, place your hands on a bar that doesn’t go past your head to avoid injury, and start lowering yourself down. Your body should be held firm, your core should be tight, and you should place your weight on your toes. Twelve to fifteen repetitions is a good rule of thumb.
Take a Lap
While your children are busy in the sandbox or taking a trip down the slide, you can job around the perimeter of the playground. If there is a paved path on the playground, take the path. To get extra benefits from your run, sprint a short distance and jog slowly. Keep alternating intense bursts of activity with moments where you slow down.
Use a Bench for More than a Seat
There are always benches and picnic tables placed conveniently around a playground. Turn one of them into exercise equipment. The first step is to sit down, placing your hands on the edge of your seat. Put your legs out in front of you and drop down of the bench so your backside is hovering in the air while your legs are out straight. You’ll do what looks like a reverse push up as you lift and lower yourself while holding on to the bench. Go with a standard of twelve to fifteen repetitions to give your arms a good workout. You’ll target a different muscle group than you did with traditional push-ups.
Use the Slide to Get the Most Out of Your Lunge
The lunge is a simple exercise that you can do anytime. All you do is step forward on one foot and bend your knee. You’re other leg will bend as you come down. To make this exercise more challenging, you can place one foot on the end of the slide while you are stepping forward and dipping down on the other leg. You should alternate legs to make sure each leg gets a balanced workout. Shoot for twelve to fifteen repetitions for each leg.
Hit the Bars for a Pull-Up
You have several options at the playground when you want to do pull-ups. You can use the monkey bars over your head. If you go with this traditional form of the move, you’ll be pulling yourself up off the ground and lowering yourself down again. You can also opt for a new twist by finding a bar that is only about four feet off the ground. You’ll place your hands on the bar so that they have an underhand grip. Stick your legs out beneath the bar and lean back so that you are slanted. Start attempting a pull-up by pulling yourself up and lowering yourself down. You may need to start small with this challenging exercise by doing fewer repetitions in the beginning. Start with five. Gradually work your way up until you can do fifteen.
Kick those Squats into High Gear
You can do a squat anywhere, at any time. When you’re at the playground, trying holding on to a bar that isn’t too high and lower yourself down as far as you can go when you squat. You’ll dig deeper and get more out of this basic move. Pull yourself up and your arms will get some exercise too. Go with twelve to fifteen repetitions before you go on to the next move.
Go Another Round on the Swing with Knee Tucks
You can finish up your workout at the swing by putting your legs on the swing while your hands are out on the ground. You’ll look like you’re ready to do a push up. Bend your knees, pulling the swing forward and straighten them out again. Make it another twelve to fifteen repetitions with this move. If you’re feeling spicy, you can always do a set of push-ups to really give yourself an edge. When it’s time to go home, you will have the satisfaction that comes when you know you pushed your body to the limit. You’ll feel good about yourself and you’ll still be spending quality time with the kids.