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Health & Fitness
May 20, 2014 | Posted by: Gia Alvarez | Posted in: Health & Fitness
5 Playground Fitness Moves

Playgrounds are a veritable paradise for children; they can run, climb, swing and get all of their energy out. As parents, most of us tend to find a shady bench to sit on and watch. As much as I love watching my twins laugh and enjoy being active…I tend to get a little jealous. I crave activity too! I would love to be getting a little bit of a workout in rather than sitting still.  
So after exploring the equipment, I developed 5 playground fitness moves that are quick and easy to do while the kids are playing. 

    1. Swing Pull Up: Upper Body
    • Grip the sides of the swing, with your fists turned in facing each other. Walk your legs out until your body is almost horizontal with the ground. Keeping your abs tight, pull yourself up to the swing until your chest touches. Lower back down for 1 rep.
    • 10-12 reps.
    2. Monkey Bar Knee Ups: Abs
    • Find the tallest monkey bar in the playground.  Grip the monkey bars with your hands shoulder width apart and your palms facing out.  Ideally, your legs should dangle, but they don't have to. Keep your abs tight and pull your legs up so they are at a 90-degree angle with your body. Try not to let your body swing; the power should be coming from your core, and you will definitely feel your abs engaged! Return to start for 1 rep. (You’re also getting a great stretch for your back and shoulders by hanging on the bars.)
    • 12-25 reps.
    3. Swing Stability Push Ups: Upper Body
    • Place your feet on a swing and walk your hands out until your body is horizontal with the ground. Hands should be flat on the ground and shoulder width apart. Keeping your abs tight, lower yourself down until your chest is almost touching the ground and then push yourself back up for 1 rep. If the swing is too unstable for you, try doing the push-ups on a bench.
    • 10 reps.

    4. Toe Taps on the stairs or climbing logs: Lower Body and Cardio
    • Find a low-profile step, or a bench. Quickly alternate your feet keeping one toe on the bench or step at all times.  
    • 30 second intervals.

    5. Bench Stretch: Hip Flexor
    • Place your right foot on a bench with your knee at 90 degrees. Slowly push your right foot into the bench and bend further into your stretch. You should feel the stretch in your left hip. Slowly bend in and out of the stretch for a dynamic hip flexor stretch. Switch legs and repeat. 

Next time you head out to the playground remember to try out the 5 fitness moves. If you are only there for a quick stop, pick your favorite 2 or 3 exercises to do. As busy parents, we have to be creative with how we fit our workouts in. Plus, your child may watch you and want to join in on the fun! Teaching them a love for fitness at a young age is a wonderful gift you can give them.  
Check out more exercise and wellness tips over at the Balance Bar Facebook page!

Gia Alvarez*

*Gia Alvarez is a paid spokesperson for Balance Bar®.

Tags: Exercise & Wellness, Lifestyle, Family.