Fitness: This Isn’t Child’s Play!
Why should the kids have all the fun of the swings and the slides and the monkey bars? Make your park visits more productive by adding in some of these boredom-busting, fat-blasting, muscle-sculpting playground moves:
1. Swing Lunge
a) Add some umph to the traditional lunge by placing your back foot on a swing, and as you lower your front leg into a lunge, gently push your rear leg back.
b) Slowly return to the top by driving through your front heel and squeezing your glutes as you stand. After ten reps, switch legs.
2. Monkey Bar Cross
a) Find your inner child and challenge your upper body strength by crossing the monkey bars using one hand and then the other on the same bar, leading with the right hand and following with the left on the way down.
b) Then turning around and leading with the left hand and following with the right on the way back. Be sure to bend your knees if the bars are low enough for your feet to touch! Up and back is one rep; shoot for ten reps.
3. Slide Push-Ups
a) These can go many ways: let’s start with two of those ways. Incline push-ups: With your feet on the ground and your hands on the sides of the slide, lower your body down as far as you can without collapsing, then exhale and press up while contracting your pectoral muscles.
b) Switch things up by placing your feet on the base of the slide and your hands on the ground and creating a decline push-up. For an easier modification, work your feet further up the slide so your knees are closer to the base. Ten reps of one or a ten rep combination of both.
4. Balance Beam Dips
a) Have a seat on the balance beam, but don’t get too comfortable! Place your hands close to your butt with your fingers on the front of the balance beam.
b) Remove your butt and keeping your abs tight and your elbows pointing back, lower your body down until your arms are parallel with the ground. With an exhale, press up and squeeze your triceps. For an extra kick, alternate bringing a knee toward your chest with each dip. Too tough? Bend your knees and keep your feet closer to you.
5. Angry Landscaper
This two-part move incorporates your whole body while raising your heart rate to increase the burn.
a) Begin in the standing position and bend at the waist and place your hands in the grass. Walk your hands forward until you are in a full plank position.
b) Then begin taking steps toward your hands while rising your hips and engaging your hamstrings. The movement resembles an inchworm.
c) After ten “inchworms,” rise to your feet and after lowering into a squat, leap forward in a dynamic movement using your arms to help you cover some ground. Repeat this giant jump ten times.
If the kids are all having a good time, go ahead and run through the entire circuit two to three more times. By then the ice cream truck will be coming! This may be a good time to work on your sprint work…running from the truck and not after it!