Feeling like your super status is depriving you of time for exercise? Well, do we have good news for you! Next time you’re at the park with the kids, let them help inspire you to be more active. Instead of sitting on the bench watching from afar, jump right in there with them! Playing in the playground can burn calories, but there are also ways you can use the playground to gain that extra muscle tone.
With the kids:
Challenge your kids to see who can go higher on the swing. The harder you pump your legs, the more calories you’ll burn, and you may even feel those abs tightening up too!
Challenge yourself to get all the way across the monkey bars without letting your feet touch the ground. You’ll be amazed at how strong your child’s arms are after giving this a try!
Climb up the ladder:
Follow your child up/down the ladder and in and around the playground. You’ll be surprised at how much upper and lower body strength this requires. Don’t be afraid to get down and dirty when crawling through tunnels or over barrels.
On your own while the kids are busy having fun:
Bench squats (works the quads, glutes):
Stand in front of the park bench, as you would if you were about to sit down. Begin to sit, but as soon as your bottom touches the bench, stand right back up. Repeat for 1 minute and time yourself to see how many squats you can complete. Next time, see if you can squeeze one more in.
Pushups (works arms, core):
Pushups can be intimidating, but the good news is this: you can do a pushup anywhere, and anyone can do it. If you’re new to pushups, start by placing your hands on the back of the bench, or on a picnic table. Be sure to keep your body in a straight line (from head to heels) and keep your abs tight. Work at this level until it starts to feel easy. Over time, work your way down to the bench level, and ultimately to the ground. Repeat for 1 minute.
Heel raises (works calf muscles):
Standing in place, raise heels up, then lower back down. Repeat for 1 minute. You can add a little challenge by standing on the edge of a curb or step just with the ball of the foot, but allowing the heels to hang off the edge.
Plank (works core, arms):
Get into pushup position, and hold. As with the pushup, you can make this easier by placing your hands on an elevated surface, or harder by having hands and feet on the ground. For a little variety and extra challenge, alternate between 2 surface heights (ex: start with hands on the table, then walk hands down to bench and back up). Try to hold this position for up to 1 minute. If you can only hold the position for 10 seconds, try to repeat 6 times so you have a cumulative minute. If you hold for 30 seconds, you only need to repeat twice!
If you repeat the 5 exercises above for 1 minute each, and repeat that two times, in just 10 minutes you’ll have completed a total body workout! Now if only we could help you decide what to make for dinner…