Thursday, May 15, 2014

Playgrounds Aren’t Just For Kids

Now that spring has finally sprung, I wanted to repost a blog that I originally posted on September 12, 2013.  Enjoy!

Ok.  I’ll admit that playgrounds are primarily designed for children’s enjoyment, but that doesn’t mean that an adult cannot create a fun workout while acting like a kid again.  Why not enjoy the beautiful, spring weather and take your workout outside?

The DC area has many great parks that feature amazing playgrounds.  So, the chances are good that there’s a playground near you.
First, let me advise that you may feel silly working out by a swing set – especially if families are playing nearby.  You may want to use the facility early in the morning before the kids arrive to play or later in the evening after the children have gone to bed.  This will ensure that you’re not commandeering the equipment away from a 5 year-old who wants to play King of the Hill.

A playground workout requires out-of-the-box thinking and a lot of creativity.  The only limit to this kind of workout is your imagination. 
Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • Work your arms.  Grab the chains of a swing, lean back, make your body tight and straight, and use your back and arm muscles to pull yourself up.  Then, grab the ladder to the slide and make your body into a tight plank.  Again, use your arms to pull yourself up. (15 reps of each)
  • Tighten your core.  Hang from the monkey bars, and flex your abs.  Use your core to pull your knees up into your chest. (10 reps)
  • Strengthen your legs.  Hold onto the side of the slide and stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart.  Bend your knees and go as low as you can go while maintaining a straight back, but make sure that your knees don’t extend beyond your toes.  Then, “sit” in the same position for 30 seconds.  (10 reps each)
  • If you want a challenge that works your arms and core, try a swing push-up.  Carefully, place your feet on the swing and place your arms on the ground in a push-up position.  Because your feet will be unstable, this will force you to use your core muscles to balance.  (10 reps)

After you’ve depleted your imagination – and your energy – it’s time to cool down and stretch.

This is a great workout if you go to the playground with your child.  As your child is playing, you can take the opportunity to fit in a great workout while spending bonding time with your family.
Have fun and enjoy the beautiful weather!

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