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Being a parent can mean feeling like there is not enough time to exercise.  Children are exhausting.  I no longer have a small child but this is something I did as my boy grew.  Playground time is fun for everyone involved if you think of it as an opportunity to do more than watch your kids play.  We were fortunate enough to live in a small community so the playground was often empty.  I’m sure you can still find things to do at your playground and maybe even with your child.

I had one child so it meant that I had to play with my son when he wanted to play.  I wish I had taken full advantage of these opportunities but I did learn that a good workout can be found amongst the playground equipment.

Swings – using the swings is a great workout.  The motion of swinging works the thighs, the core and the upper arms, as well as a number of the smaller muscles.  If your child is old enough to swing on their own, challenge them to see which one of you can get to a certain height the fastest.  See if you can swing in sync.  See who can swing the longest.

Balance Beams – some playgrounds have beams close to the ground to practice balance.  This is a great parent toy as well.  Walk from one end to the other.  If your child is walking with you, practice your silly walks with them.  Play follow the leader.  Start from opposite ends and pass each other without falling off.

Merry Go Rounds – this is a great arm workout.  With or without children on the merry go round, push the bars to see how fast you can get it to spin.  Do stops and starts but be careful not to grab the bars while the merry go round is going too fast or you might damage your joints.  If there are small children (or no children), stand by a bar – push it with one hand and catch it in the other.  Reverse.  Feel free to make it a more body workout by lunging to the side as you catch the bar.

Teeter Totters – this is tough, especially if you have a child that weighs a lot less than you.  Bend your knees and do frog jumps to move the teeter totter up and down.  If you have two children then use your arms like you are doing push-ups to move the teeter totter up and down.

This should be a good place to start.  Playing with your kids does wonders for your health and it creates an amazing bond.  It teaches your child the joy of play even as they get older and that being healthy doesn’t have to be work (it’s a good lesson for anyone).

Remember: Don’t do anything that hurts and if you have a medical issue that could be made worse with these exercises then please consult your doctor.  As I have said before, I am not a licensed physician and this is a routine I made up for myself.

Please share your playground workout ideas, along with any exercise or diet challenge ideas you may have.