The best time of the year is upon us! It’s in the air, isn’t it! That sweet, sweet time when days are longer, there’s heat in the sun and you can kick your kids back outside for some quality time outdoors to play after dinner. The oh-so-joyful moments when you can say “get outside and run around!” and it doesn’t take 45 minutes and three bathroom trips for a 10-minute blast of fresh air!
I love spring. The beautiful flowers beginning to bloom, the bright sky…the NO SNOW! I also love that being able to get outside gives parents an opportunity to get active in more ways that just pushups and burpees in the living room!
Taking your kids to the park can be one of the greatest sweat sessions you can have. The best part? Your kids are getting active play and will often join you in your exercises. There’s nothing better than listening to your kids laugh, run and play while you laugh, burpee and strengthen your core.
While you may think that going to park gives you some time to sit, rest and relax, it can also be a time for you to be active, get stronger and be an incredible role model for your kids. Not sure what to do at the park to get active? Have no fear, I’ve put together seven exercises you can link together to create a fun-filled workout that allows you to keep your eyes on your kids and work on your own health and fitness.
Park Time Workout
Complete each exercise for one minute then move on to the next. You can repeat all 7 exercises two to four times, depending on how long you want to workout and/or how long your kids want to play to spend some quality time outdoors!
Exercise #1: Shuffles & Sprints
Most parks are designed as a square. Shuffle along the widths of the park and sprint each length. Shuffle, sprint, shuffle sprint. This will give you a delicious cardio blast and raise your heart rate for an increased caloric burn.
Exercise #2: Step ups
The wonderful thing about parks is that there are always places for you to step up and spend quality time outdoors. Plant your entire foot onto a bench or part of the play structure then simply step up driving your weight through your heel. Step back down, alternating which foot you step up with.
Exercise #3: Triceps dips
Most parks that you take your kiddos to will have a bench for parents to sit on. Don’t just sit there. Get your triceps dips in. Be sure to drop your hips straight down and go down until your elbows reach 90 degrees. To make this exercise harder, move your feet away from your body. Need it easier? Bring your feet closer to the bench.
Exercise #4: Swing rows
Swings aren’t just for swinging any longer. Think of them as little TRX suspension systems! Hold the swing by the chains (or ropes, whatever swings your swing!) in front of you with your arms bent. Slowly straighten your arms, allowing your body to move in a solid plank towards the ground. Keeping that angled plank position, pull your body up (i.e. row your arms), elbows brushing your side, then lengthen the arms and slowly lower the body down again. Continue on rowing for the entire minute.
Exercise #5: Unstable pushups
There are often a number of places at a park with unstable surfaces. The little ride-em animals or yes, even swings can be used for this exercise. Simply put your feet on the unstable surface and complete your pushups from there. Working with unstable surfaces increases the amount of work your core needs to do! If you find pushups difficult, modify! Don’t use an unstable platform and drop to your knees.
Exercise #6: Plank pikes
With your feet on the swing and your body held in a plank position, keep your legs straight and “pike” your body (aka shoot your booty to the sky), then bring your hips back down so your body is back to the starting position. Remember to brace through your core, breathe and only do this exercise while you can maintain proper form. Once form falters, rest, and start again.
Exercise #7: Obstacle Course
This one is my favorite. Have your kids set up an obstacle course around the park for you. They’ll have your running up, under and over the park equipment. Including your kids adds to the fun and they’ll often join you on this part of your workout. It’s okay to slow down and just be with them for this, it’s all about the fun!
So, there you have it! 7 exercises you can put together for a killer park workout. As you kick your kids out to spend quality time outdoors, tie up your laces, grab your water bottle and hit the fresh air with them. You’ll both leave the park feeling refreshed, fit and ready to tackle the rest of your day.
By: Lindsay Goulet PhD – Founder of Hot Mama Health + Fitness