7 Playground Exercises for Parents (and Kids at Heart)


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  19 comments   :  43,005 Views

One of my favorite pastimes as a kid was going to the local park with my friends where we would spend countless hours playing on the swings, going down the slide, hanging from the monkey bars, not to mention pushing the merry-go-round as fast as we could. What we didn't realize at the time is that we weren't just playing, we were exercising. From pumping our legs to go higher in the swings, to climbing the stairs to go down the slide, to using our core and upper body to maneuver from one monkey bar to the next, to pushing that merry-go-round as fast as our arms would move, we had no idea the benefits our bodies were getting from playing at the playground.

You don't have to be a kid to take advantage of playground equipment to get fit. In fact spring is the perfect time to head outdoors and take advantage of the cooler temps before the arrival of the summer heat. Below are links to a few exercises one can do all at the playground. No fancy equipment needed and because many of these exercises are compound moves, in other words working more than one muscle group at a time, you can get in a quick workout in little time and still enjoy some play time with your kids when you are done.

If you do not want to bring a print out of these exercises with you, National Strength and Conditioning Coach, Chris Rauchnot, may have the perfect solution just for you. There is an app available for the iPhone and/or iTouch for a mere $2.99 plus tax titled Playground Pump: The Workout. This app allows you to pick from a variety of playground exercises that show demonstrations, as well as offers advice on form.

And if you do not own an iPhone or iTouch, do not worry, Chris Rauchnot developed a card deck system to carry with you in your purse or pocket to take to the playground. For under $17, you have access to 50 cards of exercises to pull from the deck to do while your kids play. And what makes these cards a great deal is you can mix and match your workouts. A win/win situation for all.

Glutes, Quadriceps, Hamstrings

Swing Lunge

Hips, Outer Thighs, Waist

Lateral Leg Lifts

Triceps, Shoulders, Core

Park-Bench Dip

Arms, Abs, Butt, Legs

Electric Slide

Chest, Shoulders, Triceps, Glutes, Abs

Wheelbarrow Push-Up

Inverted Row

Back, Biceps

Jumping Pull-Up This exercise can also be done on monkey bars at the playground.

Would you consider doing any of these workouts at your local playground? Have you ever done any of these workouts before? Would the Playground Pump: The Workout be something you would consider downloading or purchasing?

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  • 19
    The best playground workout I do is playing tag with the kids! We run across the bridges, go down (or up) the slides, jump over the swings, over the rock walls, etc. It's so much more fun that a structured workout & doesn't require thinking! :P - 3/8/2016   12:54:28 PM
  • 18
    FINALLY! Folks are getting on the same page with us grown-ups who love to play outdoors. Move over, grandkids. LOLOL... - 9/21/2014   6:03:22 PM
  • 17
    I am 63 and wouldn't attempt to do any of these exercises. What is wrong with just playing on the swings, see-saw and merry-go-round? Having fun while using muscles just to enjoy ourselves. - 5/18/2014   6:00:06 PM
  • 16
    I wish you could track your exercise on sparkpeople for swinging. Yeah just plain ol' swinging. I still like to swing and do it often at the park with my children. - 5/18/2014   4:17:40 PM
  • 15
    Love these ideas :)
    Going to give this a try next time I'm outside and near a playground :) - 5/18/2014   2:19:10 PM
    i always try to stop at a playground and use the swings and seesaw, i would love to use the apps but these days most apps are made for iPhones and no longer Blackberrys. - 4/21/2011   8:19:39 PM
  • 13
    No, I would not purchase anything to help me play at the park, for heaven's sakes. Pretty soon there will be an app for exercising in your bathroom, time to get realistic please. Notice our economy is not doing well yet? - 4/20/2011   10:53:54 PM
  • 12
    These are all great ways to workout while enjoying the grandchildren, Thank you for sharing Nancy. - 4/20/2011   2:16:03 PM
  • 11
    My kids are teenagers and don't know any small kids. Unfortunately the parks near my home needs some work on the playground equipment. The equipment is always broken. - 4/20/2011   1:17:58 PM
  • 10
    Cool! An easy way to fit in a workout while the kids play. - 4/20/2011   12:18:13 PM
    I get on the swings with my daughter, lean back so my abs are engaged an swing until my abs are too tired. :) - 4/20/2011   11:57:34 AM
    Great idea...but I don't have kids, so it might seem a little odd. - 4/20/2011   9:23:13 AM
  • 7
    I'm super excited to try some of these the next time we go to the state park. - 4/20/2011   9:05:08 AM
  • 6
    Looks good but I would feel like an idiot doing these things at a public park. I don't even like to work out in front of my hubby. But maybe I can work in some less obvious exercises to do while I play with my son. - 4/20/2011   7:40:52 AM
  • 5
    If we do these exercises do you promise that we will look like the women demonstrating them? My balance is horrible so if I did the swing lunge, I would promptly fall on my face. Most of the exercises would look kind of strange to do in a public park. I like the idea of going there to play and run around with our kids though. Mine is a bit old for the park but maybe I could borrow the neighbor's kid. - 4/19/2011   11:10:26 PM
  • 4
    Can't wait to go to the playground with my nine year old. - 4/19/2011   10:54:56 PM
  • 3
    What a cool idea. If only I could still do the monkey bars... - 4/19/2011   9:55:55 PM
  • 2
    I don't even have kids and those would be fun ways to get some extra burn in while being outside. - 4/19/2011   4:09:02 PM
  • 1
    This is so true. I stopped at the park a few months ago and got on the swings with my kids, and focused on using my core to propel me...I could feel my muscles later that evening, and knew they'd been worked.
    If you are looking for additional workout tips, visit primordial-athletics@blogspot.com This man has some non-traditional views on exercise that are very interesting. - 4/19/2011   2:29:26 PM

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