I get it—busy summer schedules mean that it’s not always possible to make it to a scheduled circuit class, but that doesn’t mean you need to miss your workout completely. Thanks to Portland’s huge network of parks, school kids aren’t the only ones who get to monkey around on the neighborhood playground. From bleachers to bike paths to equipment that’s perfect for strength-building bodyweight exercises, parks and schoolyards offer tons of ways to burn off some steam and enjoy the benefits of running around in fresh air. Got kids? Bring ‘em along! Research shows that modeling active behavior for your kids can make them healthier and more prone to enjoy being active themselves—so everyone wins! Don’t have kids? Don’t be creepy—wait until off-peak hours to avoid hogging the fun from little ones.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll share new moves for making the most of every piece of playtime equipment at the park. First up? The swingset!
1. Swingset Criss-Cross for Abs
Sit on a swing and, while holding the chains, lean back so your arms engage and your elbows are bent. Extend both of your legs in front of you with your toes pointed. Open your legs a foot our two into a v share, keeping them as straight as possible. Cross your left calf over your right and engage your stomach muscles to keep your balance on the swing. Return your legs out to the v shape, then switch legs and cross your right calf over your left. Repeat 8 more times on each side.
2. Swingset Crunches
Sit on a swing, bend your knees, and draw them into your chest. Repeat 10 times.
3. Swingset Rows
Stand behind a swing and grab a chain in each hand. Lean back until your body is diagonal and make your body straight—as if you were in a plank. Use your back, core, and arm muscles to pull yourself up. Repeat 10 times.
4. Swingset Knee Tucks
Get into a plank up position with your feet in the seat of a swing and your arms on the ground in front of the swing. Bend your knees to bring them towards your chest while engaging your core muscles. Push your legs back to their straight starting position. Repeat 10 times.
5. Feel like a kid again!
Simply swinging on a swing can burn more than 200 calories! Get in a bit of cardio and let the breeze cool you down after your body-weight exercises.
Next time you’re in need of a quick pick-me-up, remember these 5 simple moves you can perform at the playground—or give me a call and I’ll get you started on an exercise plan that’s designed to get you looking and feeling younger than you have in decades.