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Get a total body workout at the neighborhood playground

playground

The playground is a perfect outdoor gym

The best place to exercise is not always the gym. Great workouts can take place in the home, around the neighborhood and even at the local playground – with or without the kids. If family fitness is the goal, give the kids a whistle and let them coach Mom and Dad through parts of this workout, or set up the stations below and move from station to station as a group.

No equipment is needed for this fitness blast. But as you get comfortable with the workout, try adding fitness tools such as a jump rope or a hula hoop to increase the fun factor and burn more calories.

Begin this workout with a 5 minute warm-up. Walk, jog, or run the circumference of the playground. If the kids are participating, play follow the leader and encourage them to skip, hop, jump or do other activities to elevate the heart rate. Then spend the bulk of the workout moving through activity stations.

Activity stations:

  • Pull up. Use the climbing arch or other overhead bar to do pull ups. If a full pull up is too difficult, work in teams and take turns giving each other a boost by holding and lifting the puller’s legs.
  • Swingset sit up. Sit in a swing, hang on the the chains, and begin this abdominal exercise by fully extending the legs in front of the hips. Then bring the knees to the chest and repeat.
  • Push-up. If full push-ups are too difficult or if the playground surface is not usable, rest the hands on a picnic table or the base of a slide and perform the push-up on an incline.
  • Jumping jacks. This old favorite raises the heart rate and is easy to do.
  • Hill sprints. No hill? Sprint between park landmarks such as a tree or a drinking fountain.
  • Step ups. Step on and off of a raised surface such as the base of a slide or the bench of a picnic table. Alternate legs so that both sides of the body are equally utilized.

End the workout with a five minute cool down walk.