Before you dismiss a playground workout as not real exercise, know that this type of activity is officially called “body weight training.” Using only your own body weight as resistance can be as effective as using free weights or weight machines, according to the Mayo Clinic.
While you are at the playground with your kids, why just sit on there and do nothing. It’s the perfect opportunity to easily fit in some activity for yourself while spending time with your kids.
Do a light jog around the playground to warm up and know the lay of the land before starting.
Monkey bars body hang:
While it may seem simple, this one move builds all-over body strength when done correctly. Keep butt squeezed, legs tight, toes pointed and don’t let shoulders shrug up to your ears.
Crawl on your hands and feet (butt in the air) from the monkey bars to the bench and back.
Face the bench and place your hands, shoulder-width apart, on the back of the bench. Using your arms and keeping your core and butt tight (no sagging middle), bend your arms and lower your head and body in a straight line as far as you can and repeat.
In front of the bench, flip over to a sitting position on the ground and lift up your butt to crawl like a crab on your hands and feet to the swings.
With a firm seat on the swing and a firm grip on the swing chains at chin height, push yourself back with your feet and let go, shooting your legs forward and toward the sky. Then sit up as you fly backwards again. To pump, lean back slightly, straightening your arms while gripping the chains and engaging your core (abdomen) to shoot your legs toward the sky again on the forward motion trying to propel yourself higher with each pass.
Run as fast as you can from the swings to the bench, tag it, and return to the swings.
Hang straight, as before, except this time bend your knees together and use your stomach muscles to pull them up as high as you can toward your chest and back down again. If that’s too easy, raise your legs and hold them in an “L” position or raise them, extended, up and down.
Most playgrounds have steps up to the equipment you can use to step up and down on, alternating legs. Adults and older, stronger kids can also do step-ups on a bench if tall enough.
Climbing web race:
From opposite sides of the web structure, see who can get all the way up and over the web and down to the opposite side fastest.
Sand jumping jacks:
In the sand, see who can do the most jumping jacks.
Do as many rounds of this playground workout circuit as you like, racing and counting out loud, resting a minute or two in between circuits, or not. The important thing is making it fun.
Consult your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise program.