When you become a parent, any “you-time” quickly becomes time for your kids. It is easy to fall behind on your fitness goals when your life revolves around homework, music lessons, soccer practice, and play dates. Multi-tasking becomes a necessity. So, next time you are at the playground with your kids, why not turn it into a workout session for yourself? Here are a few exercises you can do using equipment found on most playgrounds:
A modification of the traditional push-up, the incline created by placing your hands on a bench seat makes push-ups easier to complete.
Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the seat of a park bench, then walk your feet back until you are in an inclined plank position. Keeping your body straight, complete 2 sets of 15 push-ups.
Facing away from the bench, place your hands on the bench seat behind you. Walk your feet out until they are straight in front of you. Then lower and raise your body using your arms. Complete 2 sets of 15, making sure to keep your core engaged.
Start by facing the bench with one foot on the ground and one toe touching the front of the bench seat. Then jump up and switch feet, so the opposite foot is now touching the bench. Complete 2 sets of 30 as quickly as possible while maintaining good posture.
Stand in front of a swing seat and grab the chain on each side at elbow height. Lean back until arms are straight, keeping body in straight as well. Pull your body weight up to standing position and then lower back down. Repeat 2 sets of 15 reps.
Swing Leg Tucks
Facing away from the swing, place your hands on the ground and rest the tops of both feet on the swing seat. Walk your hands out until you are in a plank position with your feet resting on the swing sweat. Now tuck your legs in and under your body and then extend back out, keep your hands firmly planted on the ground. Repeat 2 sets of 15 reps.
Sit on the swing and hold on to the chains on each side at shoulder height. Lean back and lift legs to form a V-shape with your body. While keeping your core engaged, criss-cross your legs back and forth over each other. Complete 2 sets of 30.
Jungle Gym Pull-Up
Find a horizontal bar that around chest height. Hold the bar with palms facing you at shoulder width apart. Walk your feet under the bar until your body is at a straight incline with your feet firmly planted on the ground in front of you. Lower and raise your body, keeping your core engaged and your body straight. Repeat 2 sets of 15 reps.
This one is pretty straightforward, and your kids will get a kick out of you “playing” with them on the monkey bars. It is likely that you will easily be able to reach the monkey bars with your feet still on the ground, so grab the first bar and then tuck your legs up in front of you, crossing your ankles. Keeping a slight bend in your arms, go down the length of the monkey bars and back. See how many times you can complete the length of the monkey bars and then challenge yourself to go a little farther next time.
Slide Lateral Leaps
Standing to one side of the base of a slide and facing the top of the slide, leap sideways over the base of the slide, tucking your legs and landing on the other side of the slide base. Complete 2 sets of 15 reps while maintaining good posture and form.
At the end of these exercises, you will have completed a total-body workout, engaging your arms, legs and core. Try to rest as little as possible in between each exercise to keep your heart rate up and maximize calories burned. Most importantly, have fun! Your kids are enjoying blowing off some steam at the playground, why shouldn’t you, too?