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Busy Parent But Want to Get in Shape? Try a Playground Workout

playground workout on monkey bars
Playground workouts including this monkey bar exercise strengthen your arms.

Remember how it felt to go to the playground as a kid? You would pump your legs while swinging or challenge your friends to see who could make it across the monkey bars the fastest. You would run from one piece of equipment to another, climbing, moving and laughing. You’d be exercising and you wouldn’t even know it because you’d be having so much fun.

Make Use of that Playground Equipment

Who says playgrounds are just for kids? A trip to your local park or playground may be all you need to reinvigorate your workout. Think of those monkey bars, swings and even park benches as useful equipment that can help you get in a full-body workout while you enjoy some fresh air.

And of course, if you have kids, they can play or workout right along with you. The added bonus: When your kids see you exercising, they learn healthy habits of self-care that will last them a lifetime.

Playground Workout Exercises

Here are 3 playground-style exercises to try:

  1. Monkey bar pull-up. Grab onto the bars and try different grips to vary this challenging upper-body exercise. An underhand grip (palms facing your body on one bar) will give your biceps a workout, while a neutral grip (palms facing each other on two parallel bars) will strengthen your forearms. If this is too hard, grasp a bar of the jungle gym that’s low enough so you can touch the ground. Walk your legs in front of you as you grasp the bar so you’re leaning back in a slightly diagonal but straight-body position. Then pull your chest up towards the bar.
  2. Swing criss-cross. Sit on a swing, holding on to the chains and leaning back slightly (but keep your back straight). Lift both legs up and open them wide in a V-shape. Then bring them together, crossing one leg over the other. Bring them back to the open position before crossing them again, alternating which leg crosses over the other each time you bring your legs towards each other. Keep your abs tight and the swing steady during this move to strengthen your core.
  3. Park bench push-up. Place your hands shoulder-width apart on a park bench and walk your feet back so your body is leaning diagonally towards the bench in a straight line. Keep your abs tight, your elbows tucked into your side, and your torso and legs straight as you lower your body towards the bench. Then push your body away from the bench, maintaining your body in a straight line. These push-ups tone and strengthen your chest, shoulders and arms

Have more playground exercises? Share in the comments below!

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