Without a good gym nearby or the finances to afford a gym pass and daycare, a mom can be at a loss as to how to get in the kind of exercise she needs to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I was in the situation until recently when I decided to get creative at the playground.
The area where I live is quickly being populated by new housing developments. Many of these developments parks for the community residents. Several mornings a week I put my kids in the jogging stroller and head out for a run. So that exercise time is fun for both myself and my kids we run to one of the local playgrounds.
The first time we tried this it dawned on me, why stop my exercise routine when I have such a great “gym” right here at my disposal? I came up with a few simple exercises and stretches that you can easily do in 15 minutes while your kids are playing at the playground.
The Row: This multi-purposed exercise will stretch your hamstrings and can also be a good stretch for your triceps and rhomboids. To execute this exercise find a piece of equipment with rungs near the ground and also at shoulder level. Stand on the lowest rung and grasp a rung that is about should level. Bend at the hips and “sit” as far as you can while keeping your feet on the rungs. Pull yourself into a standing position. Repeat 12-15 times. How many sets you do will depend on your current level of fitness. Start with 2 sets and work up from there.
Through the arm stretch: This stretch will stretch your pectorals and all way down to your fingertips. Standing at arm’s length from the bar, place your fingertips on the edge of the bar, open your stance and turn your head to look away from your extended arm. Hold for at least 40 seconds.
The Pull-up, Chin-up, or Hang: If you can do it, go for the pull up or the chin up. Personally, I had to go for the hang. Back in the days when I was carrying around my hefty child in his infant car seat I could do a few pull ups, but those days are gone. Don’t worry if you can’t do a pull up or chin up, you can cheat. Position your feet on a rung where your arms can be at a 90 degree angle (or close to it). Use that little assist and pull yourself up the rest of the way. You might be surprised at what you can do! If you need to start even simpler use the bar step to help you get your chin above the bar and just hang there as long as you can.
Calf Raises: Super easy. Simply stand with your heels hanging off the edge of a stair. The stairs on playgrounds always have rails for the kids to hold on to. Holding onto to that rail will help you balance. Do 10 calf raises and then do 10 quick calf raises. Turn your toes out and do 10 regular and 10 quick raises. Turn your toes in and do 10 regular and 10 quick raises. You’ll be sore after this one, but it will be oh, so good! After you’re done with your calf raises hang your heels off the edge for a minute or so and give you calves a good stretch.
Lunges: Lunges are the icing on the cake. You can do them just about anywhere, and they’ll work a large number of your lower body muscles for quick toning and strength building. Because it is easy to do lunges incorrectly if you are not familiar with the technique I’ve included a short tutorial from you tube. If you’re just starting a workout routine I’d recommend starting with 10 lunges on each side. If you’re more advanced try 2 or 3 sets of 10 on each side.
*Note: I’m not an expert. I have no background in physical training. I’m just an ordinary mom trying to get in shape without being too hard on her body. All the exercises are fairly simple, great for beginners. If you have any physical limitations please consult a doctor before proceeding with this workout.