I don’t know about all you mamas, but my weekends often feel more harried and stressful than my weekdays, despite working a pretty demanding, more-than-full-time job. Laundry, cleaning, play dates, practices, and taking care of the epically long list of things that don’t get done on weekdays has me so beat that I’m frequently counting down to Monday by Saturday at noon.
One thing I always seem to have on my list of things to do is exercise. And that’s the first thing to get bumped to second, third, or tenth priority. But something that never seems to get bumped: going to the park. My kids are climbing the walls if we don’t go to the park three times a day on weekends. So, I’ve started combining those activities.
Here are six easy full-body playground workouts you can do at almost any local park!
Bench squat jump
This is a great workout for your thighs and booty. Start in a deep squat in front of a bench with your hands together in front of your chin. Then, explode from that position to jump up onto the bench, into another squat. Hop down and repeat. If you need a little extra momentum, swing your arms up a little on takeoff.
Hold on to the fireman’s pole with both hands, with your feet as far out in front of you as is comfortable. Pull up until the pole touches a shoulder. Alternate sides.
Find a bar or climbing web apparatus (which I prefer because it provides a little back support) and hook your legs over. Extend your body until you’re upside down, and cross your arms over your chest. Then, engaging your core, sit up slowly as high as you can. Make sure you’re getting the most out of the workout by descending slowly and in a controlled manner as well!
My kids love this one, since they get to slide underneath me like a “bridge.” Facing the exit of a slide, put one hand on each side of the slide, and move your feet out behind you as far as is comfortable, forming a plank. Let your kiddo slide under you, and when they exit, do a deep push up. You can also do this further up the slide, putting both your hands and feet on the sides of the slide, forming a human tunnel for your kids to gleefully slide under.
For an added challenge, start in a deep push up position with your kids at the top of the slide, and push up just in time for them to go under.
This is a terrific core, back, and shoulder workout! Since the swings aren’t stationary, they really force you to engage lots of muscles at the same time to stabilize yourself. The swings in this photo are weirdly high, but the lower the better (and more challenging). For an added challenge, you can put your palms on the swing in push-up position rather than your elbows. If you’re really ambitious, you can extend your arms and bring them back in for more of an arm and ab burn.
If your local park doesn’t have this isolated step apparatus, you can use any platform that’s high enough to make this exercise challenging but doable. Put one foot on the step, and explode through that leg, punching your opposite arm in the air like Super Mario. Switch legs after each set of 10.
Sure, these exercises may earn you a couple weird glances, but your body (and mind!) will thank you for it. Of course, none of these exercises includes the added calorie burn of simply running around with your kids at the park, so play on, mamas!
What playground workouts would you add to the list? Tell us in the comments!