When you’re a kid you can get exercise without even trying by simply playing at the playground. When you get older, this ease in excercising becomes more difficult, but that doesn’t mean you have to ditch the playground. Playgrounds can be great places for strength training, as things like monkey bars mirror equipment found at the gym. The next time you are strolling by El Parquesito de Hermandad or the Tiffany Moore Tot Lot in Franklin Park try these excercises.
1. Monkey Bar pull-up: Monkey bars are surprisingly the perfect height for pull-ups. You can do forward, backward or alternate grip pull-ups or if you’re not at this point yet try just hanging and holding yourself up with your elbows bent for as long as you are able.
2. Swing-Set Knee Tucks: Rest your feet on the swing seat and put your hands on the ground so that you are in a push-up position with your legs fully extended. Tuck your knees until they touch your chest and then extend them out again. Repeat 5 to 10 times for an excellent abdominal workout.
3. Slide Split-Squat: Stand at the bottom of a slide facing downward. Extend your right leg back as far as you can so that your right shoelaces are touching the slide. Keep your left leg bent and parallel to the slide. Slowly lower yourself down and then raise yourself back up. Repeat 5-10 times and then switch sides.
4. Park Bench Push-Up: Put your hands on the edge of the bench and extend the rest of your body straight in a push-up position. Lower your torso towards the bench and push back while keeping your core engaged 10 to 15 times.
5. Ladder Step-up: Stand in front of the ladder and bring your right foot up to the highest rung possible. Quickly step down and propel your body up. Return both feet to the ground and repeat on the other side. This is an excellent exercise to stretch and strengthen your glutes, hips, and core.
6. Picnic Table Dips: Rest your hand on the edge of a picnic table (or other) bench and hold yourself up while your hands and body are facing away from the bench. Bend your knees as if you were sitting in a chair and use your arms to raise and lower your body. Repeat 10-15 times.