Unfortunately, the playground isn’t your playground anymore.
You’re only there to let the kids run wild in a place that’s not your living room. It’s more than just a way to burn through pent-up energy, though. Having your kids play outside can provide them with an incredible number of benefits, from increased vitamin D levels to better grades at school. And, hey, it doesn’t hurt that a super-long stint at the playground might inspire a few extra-long naps later in the day.
The only problem is you might feel a little left out of the feel-good exercise that’s happening all around you. You could, of course, partake in the sliding, swinging, and dangling from monkey bars, but you might also prefer a more concentrated, grown-up workout.
We have the solution you need so that everyone can benefit from outside time — playground workouts tailored to mom. Here’s a guide to playground workout hacks for the fit mom:
They’re called box jumps at the gym, but do you see any CrossFit boxes anywhere? That’s why these are now called “bench jumps”. Find a bench or playground step that’s a reasonable jumping distance off of the ground and jump up, landing with both feet on the platform. Step down carefully and repeat.
Slide Tricep Dips
Find the least popular slide on the playground and go to town on your triceps:
- Put your hands on the slide, plant your feet flat on the ground in front of you, and bend your knees.
- Slide your body forward so that your booty is off of the slide and your arms are behind you.
- Dip down so your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, and then push yourself back up with your triceps.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a toddler who doesn’t love being pushed in the swings for what can feel like forever. Make better use of your time behind the ropes by dipping down for a squat between each push you give. If your child never tires of being pushed, you’re in for a serious leg-and-butt workout.
Here’s a move for when your child grows out of the swing. Put your feet into the seat and your hands on the ground, arms straight so that you’re in plank position. Lower your upper body down toward the mulch and back up and voila. You’ve just done one push-up.
Not all of your workout moves will take place on the playground itself. This is one that you can perform on the way to or from the park if your kiddos travel by stroller. Find a sloped pathway to push your stroller up — with one hand. Bend your arm and focus on your chest muscles, because that’s what we’re working here. And while you’re pushing and undoubtedly talking to your child, he or she will benefit, too, because social interaction helps children learn.
Monkey Bar Abs
Your core is super important to your overall physical health since it, you know, supports your spine. Therefore, you should find a set of monkey bars, grab on, and hang. Then, lift your knees up to your chest and really work those muscles. When you master this move, you can lift your straightened legs all the way up so that your body is in a 90-degree angle. Then, you can move onto tapping the monkey bar with your toes.
Stair Jumping Lunges
Your local playground probably has at least one set of stairs with a safety railing — for you, this railing is a way to balance as you go into an intense set of jumping lunges.
Start with one leg on a step. This one should be bent so that your back leg is straight and you’re in a lunge position. Then, jump up, straighten your arms and, while you’re in the air, switch legs so that the back leg is now bent forward on the step. Like we said, that railing is going to give you support in a move that’s seriously intense.
Again, beware of sliding children before settling in for this move. You’ll simply put your back against the pole for support and slide down into a seated position with legs at a 90-degree angle and hold. The longer you can hold it, the more intense of a burn you’ll feel.
Jungle Gym Plank
Find a section of the jungle gym where there’s a bar that runs parallel to the ground. Grab onto the bar with your hands directly beneath your shoulders and step your feet back until you’re in a bona fide plank position. Hold it for as long as you can and you’re sure to feel your abs engage.
Ladder Toe Taps
Grab hold of the vertical bars of your playground’s ladder and tap the highest horizontal bar you can with your toe. Then, switch legs as quickly as you can, tapping the same bar. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Elevated Bridge Jumps
The bridge from which your kiddos can survey the entire playground is now your spot to get in a bit of explosive, leg-toning cardio. Stand just next to it with your arms overhead, and then jump up as high as you can, and try and reach the top railing. Do this as many times as you can for a 30-second stretch, working your way up to a full minute of high-intensity jumps.
The best part about taking your kids to the playground is not just watching them play but joining in — chances are, they love it when you do. So, for a bit of heart-pumping cardio, organize a game of tag or red-light, green-light, or any other playground game that gets everyone’s feet moving. We promise the rest of your workout will pale in comparison to this — the part where you get to play with your loves.
These moves prove that it’s possible to build a workout outside of the gym and we have a sneaking suspicion that once you start, you’ll be able to incorporate some creative moves of your own. More importantly, you’re breaking a sweat and giving your kids the fun, carefree playground memories that they’ll cherish for the rest of their lives.
Now we call that a win-win.
|Fit WebMD: How Exercise Benefits Your Whole Body
|Playworld: Fun and Educational Playground Games for Kids
|Mayo Clinic: Core exercises: Why you should strengthen your core muscles
|Livestrong: Fun Fitness Games for Kids