Play – And Work Out – in the Park!

If you have little ones, you’re all too familiar with how much time is dedicated to taking care of children.  When the weather’s nice, spending time at the park is always a great option. Often taking care of the kids comes at the expense of taking care of yourself.  Sure, you probably don’t have time to spend two hours at the gym everyday, but every little bit of activity adds up and will keep you healthy, which will make you an ever better parent for your children! Since the park is one of the nicer places you could spend a summer day, we’ve developed strengthening and toning moves that you can do in one minute increments at the park. Leave those dumbbells at home and get a great workout in at the park! All you need is everyday playground equipment and a park bench!

Do as many repetitions of each exercise as you can in 60 seconds (30 seconds for beginners).  Go through each exercise once and then repeat them all two or even three times.  Make sure you rest your muscles inbetween strengthening workouts.  Go for a swim on the days that you’re taking a break from resistance training. Don’t forget to spend plenty of time chasing your kids around the park to burn even more calories!

Playground Pushups

Find a playground platform about waist high that will allow you to place your arms shoulder width apart. Keep your feet about four feet away from the platform and your elbows straight.  Your body should be straight. Slowly bend your elbows until your chest just about touches the platform, then push yourself back to your starting position. Make the effort to go through the full range of motion otherwise you’re losing out on some of the toning benefits. To make this exercise easier or more difficult, vary the height of the platform.  The lower the platform the more challenging the exercise!

If Only I Could Sit

With your back to a bench, stand one foot in front of bench seat and bend elbows to clasp hands in front of chest. Lift your left leg straight in front of you so that it is raised a few inches off ground, and bend the right knee to sit down briefly on bench. Keeping left leg raised throughout, stand up immediately, pressing through right heel to straighten right leg. Switch legs and repeat. If you want a greater challenge, don’t actually let your tosh touch the bench.  Dip as low as you can and then stand back up!

Slide Lunges

Stand in a lunge position with your back foot up on the bottom of the slide. Lower your body down, bending your front knee to about 90 degrees, being careful not to let your front knee to jut out beyond your toes. Push back up to your starting position. Focus most of your weight through your front heel instead of your back food. Switch legs and repeat on the other side.

Tap Your Toes

Sit on the edge of a bench and place palms behind you on the seat, fingers facing forward. Maintaining a neutral spine, lean back slightly and lift legs, keeping knees bent at 90 degrees and off ground. Keeping your chest lifted, shoulders back and right knee still, touch the ground with your left toe, then raise your left knee back to the starting position. Switch to the other leg.

Monkey Bar Pull Ups

Hang from low monkey bars with your legs outstretched in front of you and heels on the ground. Pull yourself up as high as you can and then lower back down to the starting position. Your back should be slightly rounded in the starting position. As you pull yourself up, you’ll notice that your back straightens considerably. For maximum toning, try to consciously squeeze your shoulder blades together during the movement.