You may know it as just your local playground, but the simple structures found in most schoolyards can be used like equipment at a family-friendly gym. We asked Sheila Dunn, certified personal trainer and family wellness director at the Meadowlands Area YMCA in Rutherford, New Jersey, to design a circuit of playground exercises guaranteed to help you and your kids get into the swing of staying fit.
Grip an overhead bar or set of rings. Lift your knees and bring them as close to your chest as you can. Drop your legs and repeat five times to start, then work up to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
Good for: arms and core muscles
Sit on a swing and grasp the chains. Lift your legs so that they're parallel to the ground. Cross one leg over the other, then switch, maintaining your balance. Repeat 10 to 15 times, working up to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
Good for: core, hips, legs, and balance
Try this exercise only when you have the slide to yourself! Hold on to the sides of the slide, scramble to the top as quickly as you can, then slide down. Repeat 5 to 15 times, as your stamina allows.
Good for: arms and legs
Sit and hold onto the edge of a bench with your legs slightly extended, knees bent, and feet flat on the ground. Keeping your shoulders back, slide off and lower your bottom until your elbows are bent 90 degrees. Hold the position for two seconds, then lift back up. Repeat 10 times, then work up to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
Good for: triceps
Originally published in the June/July 2013 issue of FamilyFun