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Work Out Anywhere: Tone Up at the Playground

You get plenty of cardio from chasing your kids. Why not work in some resistance training when they’re stationary (or at least sticking to one area)? The playground is the perfect place to turn into your personal gym. Try these four exercises to tone up all over—while giving the kids a laugh or two.


1. The Push and Squat (at the swings)

While pushing your child on a swing, do a squat after each push (or after every other push, depending on how fast the swing comes back to you). Standing with feet shoulders-width apart, push the child, then bend your knees and lower your body as though you’re about to sit in a chair. Pause, then pop back up.

Mix it up: Work muscles differently by changing the position of your feet. Bring them closer together or farther apart, pigeon-toed with heels out, or stand on your toes and heels up.

2. Overhead Press (on a rubber playground surface)

Find something barbell-like that will give your arms resistance, such as a stroller or a diaper bag. If such an object isn’t handy, use two equally weighted objects like two full water bottles. Stand with feet shoulders-width apart, elbows bent, and hands holding weight(s) at shoulder-level. Press arms up, extending elbows. Pause, then return hands to shoulder-level. 

Mix it up: Work muscles differently by sitting or kneeling, pressing one arm at a time (if you’re holding a weight in each hand) or starting with hands lower by your sides or higher by your ears.

3.  Tricep Dips (on a bench)

Use a bench to press your body weight. Sit on the edge of the bench and place hands down near your sides, fingers pointing forward. Lift your body and walk your feet out until your knees are over your heels. Lower your body, bending your elbows. Then lift your body, extending the elbows.

Mix it up: Work muscles differently by walking your feet out more and pressing with straight legs or putting your feet on a raised object in front of you.

4. Pull-Ups (on the monkey bars)

If lifting your body weight with your palms facing forward (pull-up positon) is too hard, try it with your palms facing you (chin-up position). With hands on the bars, placed slightly wider than your shoulders, pull up your body till your chin is above the bar, then lower.

Mix it up: Work muscles differently by moving to parallel bars, or work up to a pull-up or chin-up by using the lower bars first so your legs can help you a little.

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