I’ll start this blog off with my favorite out-of-the-gym workout spot – the local playground. Playgrounds are a great way to keep little kids active and getting exercise, and guess what? The same goes for you. While you won’t be racing up the ladder and giggling all the way down the big slide (most likely), there are still countless ways for you to unleash your inner child in ways that will shape up your outer adult.
Monkey Bars – the monkey bars are a staple of all playgrounds. You might be too tall to do them the normal way, but you can still:
Use the different rungs for chin ups at various grip widths. Closer together will hit your arm muscles and stretch your lats, while a wider grip will target your back.
Hang from the rungs and bring your knees up to your chest for a classic abs workout. Just remember to keep your body rigid and swing as little as possible.
But if you want to swing, do it! Experiment with ways to move around the bars and hold on as tight as you can to build up some nice grip strength.
Fireman Pole – sit on your knees and pull yourself up with just your arms, then slide down and do it again
Landings – the platforms and landings on playground equipment are great things to jump onto and down from, and usually they are a little rubbery so they won’t hurt your legs when you land
While I’m on the topic, I feel I should plug for the importance of playgrounds in a child’s development as well. Parents: TAKE YOUR KID TO THE DANG PARK. THE TELEVISION IS NOT A PARK. According to Joe Frost from Parks & Recreation, “play promotes social development and motor development. Play provides opportunities to learn social roles and rules as well as a socially shared system of symbols, including language. Not only is play associated with the development of specific motor skills but biologists conclude that ‘the vigorous movements of play help in the maturation of muscle tissue.’” This is part one in solving the childhood obesity crisis – making sure kids are burning off their energy in constructive ways. Guarantee you they’ll learn more from the kids on the playground than they will from all the Baby Einstein DVDs. Anyway where was I?
I’m not going to go into too much more detail about specific workouts playgrounds allow because the whole point is to not follow a routine. Instead, go out and just do whatever you want – get creative, mix it up, and above all, have a good time. Fun is the ultimate motivation, and what’s more fun than swinging around outside?
*Just be sure to get there before the kiddies. You don’t want weird stares from moms