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How to Fit in Your Workout at the Playground

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The scene at public playgrounds is a familiar one. Kids scamper around, climbing gym equipment and other obstacles while parents sit nearby, many focused on their smart phones. Such multitasking can be necessary in a modern workplace where many employees are expected to remain connected and available around the clock. Stay-at-home parents use this valuable playground time to get things done digitally while the kids are occupied. Other parents, however, are just surfing the Internet as the kids blow off steam.

Why not make the most of this time by getting in a workout with your children—or at least alongside them? Playgrounds are not always age appropriate for adults, but it’s possible to get a great workout in the same vicinity while keeping an eye on the kids. Here are a few ideas:

  • Start with some Movement Prep, one of the signature routines of our training system. Lateral squats and drop lunges are a great way to open up the hips, and the World’s Greatest Stretch is an effective full-body warm-up that can be done on grass.
  • Instead of sitting on the park bench, use it as a piece of exercise equipment, alternating between sets of dips and push-ups. If push-ups don’t come easy for you, use the back of the bench rather than the seat. Start with a set of 10 of each and work your way down continuously to sets of 8, 6, 4, and 2.
  • If you’re at a playground with few kids other than your own, use the monkey bars as a pull-up bar. Or challenge yourself to go across the monkey bars, which is valuable training if you’re one of the many planning to do an obstacle race like Tough Mudder or Spartan Race. Since you probably haven’t tackled the monkey bars since childhood, take it slow and be sure to include some shoulder prehab beforehand by doing some standing Ys, Ts, and Ls after your Movement Prep routine.
  • Some playgrounds have rock walls or faux rocks big enough for adults to climb. If not, challenge yourself to a set of 30 to 40 mountain climbers.
  • Many playgrounds have hard plastic tunnels to crawl through. These test your hip and shoulder mobility. Like the monkey bars, such challenges are part of any obstacle race. Follow your kid(s) through the tunnels. They will love doing something faster and more effectively than you.

No matter the playground layout, it’s possible to create routines to produce a challenging workout. Since finding time to train can be a challenge, especially with kids in tow, improvising at a playground is productive multitasking. Kids will see you as a role model and you’ll be reminded why it’s important to put down the phone and make time to play.

For more ideas, check out this playground workout.

About The Author

Pete Williams – Pete Williams is a contributing writer for CorePerformance.com and the co-author of the Core Performance book series.

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Tags: Outdoor Recreation, Family, Health