Take your Workout to the Playground

exercise at the parkSqueezing in exercise with kids can be frustrating, and nearly impossible. If you aren’t at the so-exhausted-I-could-cry stage you are likely at the running-around-to a million places stage. As a mom of two very active girls, I know it’s hard to find time, much less want to make time to get a workout it. But, even if you can’t squeeze in an entire workout, you can make a big dent by doing double duty.

The park is a great place to get a good workout in. Your body weight is a great tool for resistance. You can save money and build lean muscle while your kids burn energy at the playground. Here’s how:

Swing and Squat: One of my personal favorites is what I dubbed the “swing and squat (or lunge).” Every time you push your child forward you squat or lunge until they come back to you. As they come back you stand up, push them and squat again.

Monster:  You can burn some serious calories and get a good cardio workout in my joining your kids on the playground. We make this a family activity, if the playground isn’t too full. Rules are that you can’t touch the ground, unless you are the monster. You can use the monkey bars, slides and other parts of the playground to escape. The monster can use the ground but has to run because it’s “hot lava.” You get to work off that donut you snuck last night and spend time playing with your kids.

Monkey Bar Madness: The monkey bars are an excellent tool for working out your upper body. You can use the monkey bars to do pull ups or leg lifts. Even crossing them a few times will work your back and shoulders.

Step ups: You can use the steps on any playground to work your calves and legs. For calves balance the front of your feet on the bottom stair. Your heel and some of your foot should hang off the stair. Lower your heels towards the ground and push up for a great calve workout. For your legs, take the steps two at a time for extra resistance.

Slide: If you have younger kids you can even utilize slide time to tone that upper body. When you catch your little one at the bottom of the slide, lift them up over your head. You get to enjoy their giggles and work out your shoulders and arms.

Plank it out: Find a park bench (preferably empty or with a very understanding mother) and stand in front of it. Place the palms of your hands on the seat in front of you. Extend your legs behind you as far as you are comfortable and hold for 30 seconds. You can also use the back of bench to do standing pushups.

Even if you don’t have an hour to spend at the gym you can get a good workout and spend time with your little ones. What are some ways you squeeze in a little extra workout?

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