Spending quality time with your kid and getting in a good workout usually seem like totally separate activities. But not at a playground. “It’s a perfect place to have some parallel play with your child,” says Larysa DiDio, a celebrity trainer based in New York City, who works with many moms. Alternate bursts of exercise with short periods of rest as you hop from the bench to the bars to the swings—think of them as circuit stations—with your kid nearby. You’ll rack up a high-intensity, interval-training, total-body workout.
If your kid is in the sandbox or taking five in her stroller, use the bench or bleachers for these quick moves.
Step-Ups: Facing bench, place your left foot on the seat and stand up, bringing your right knee up toward your chest. Step down to the ground with your right foot, then your left. Do 20 reps, alternating sides
Dips: Sit on edge of bench with hands by hips, palms flat and fingers curled over rim. Walk feet forward and scoot butt off bench. Bend elbows 90 degrees directly behind you to dip, then press up again. Do 20 reps.
Going bar-to-bar like you did as a kid is a great arm and core workout. But you can squeeze even more serious upper-body training out of this exercise.
Hanging Abs: Grasp a single bar with both hands in overhand grip, and hang with arms extended. Bring feet off the ground and curl bent knees toward chest. Hold for one count, then lower knees back down, keeping feet off ground. Do 10 to 20 reps.
Many gyms have TRX—those hanging straps that intensify just about any bodyweight exercise. An empty swing seat can serve the same purpose.
Split Squats: Stand with your back to a swing, about a foot or two away, and place the top of your left foot on the seat (sole facing up). Bend your right knee 90 degrees (knee centered over ankle) to lower into a lunge, then stand up. Do 20 reps; switch legs and repeat.