It can be a real struggle some weeks to get the exercise we as parents need when we are forever taxiing the kids from one activity to another. With a little planning, it is possible to be active in your “active wear” while still entertaining the little ones. I’ve got some tips that will make heading down to the local playground more productive for everyone. All of these exercises can be performed by both parents and children, so the whole family can get involved!
Grip an overhead bar with both hands, ensuring you have enough space under you to hang with knees bent. Lift your knees and bring them as close to your chest as you can. Drop your legs and repeat five times to start, then work up to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
Place your hands (fingers forward) onto a sturdy playground object like a bench, or small brick wall, or platform. Extend your legs out in front of you, resting your heels on the ground, and brace your core. With your hips flexed, lower your body down and rise back up, using only your arms to move you. Focus on keeping your shoulders relaxed and your abs drawn in tight. Repeat five times to start, then work up to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
Step-Ups or Box Jumps
Beginners - Find a low platform on which you can easily step up and down. Place one foot entirely on the step and then bring up your other foot, being sure to rest the whole foot on the step. Step back down and repeat. Race each other to see how many full sets (both feet up then both feet down) each person can do in 30 seconds.
Advanced - Find a low brick wall or bench that is sturdy enough for jumping on. With feet shoulder-width apart drop quickly into a quarter squat, then extend your hips, swing your arms, and push your feet through the floor propelling yourself onto the wall/bench. Step back down and repeat. Race each other to see how many full sets (both feet up then both feet down) each person can do in 30 seconds.
Grab any ball you have at home to take to the playground with you. With at least 2 facing each other, and not too far apart, hold the ball with both hands overhead with your elbows high and throw the ball to someone. Catch it in the same overhand position you used to throw it. Keeping your core tight to protect your back, continue to throw back and forth as many times as possible for 3-5 minutes.
This is the most fun one. Sit on a regular swing and hold the chains. Without rocking back and forth, lift your legs so that they're parallel to the ground. Cross one leg over the other, then switch, maintaining your balance. Repeat 10 to 15 times, working up to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
There you go - if you do all of the above you'll get a great workout at the same time the kids are amused at the playground. If they're old enough, get them involved as well for a bit of healthy fun!
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