Tag Archives: parents. summer

School’s Out For Summer: A Playground Workout For When The Kids Are Home

Photo by SmartSign.com

Photo by SmartSign.com

We’re in week 1 of summer vacation and already my schedule has been blown to smithereens. With school-aged kids, I have  found my groove during the school year. I go to work, find time to get chores done in the early mornings or evenings, and pick up my crazy train of boys at 3:45 every afternoon. Until this week: enter summer vacation.

We decided to juggle schedules so that either my husband, me, or my mom could be home with the kids all summer. I love seeing my little guys more frequently. We’re playing board games, going to the pool, the zoo, and also digging out long forgotten toys. But some of our regular tasks have become trickier to accomplish. For many parents, that includes getting exercise.

I miss the days when my boys were all small enough to be pushed around in the stroller. They’re roughly 17 months apart, so we had only a brief window of time when all three kids would happily ride along. Soon enough they began to squawk at their rolling prison and demand to be allowed to walk, only to either run off or roll around on the ground. Bye bye, stroller walking.

You had one job, kid. Ride. Just ride. Photo credit: Bari Bookout

You had one job, kid. Ride. Just ride. Photo credit: Bari Bookout

Enter the playground workout – parents of young kids can all appreciate the beauty of taking the kids to the park. Kids can run and climb all their crazy out. Sometimes my friends and I sit and chat while they play. But if you’re pressed to find time to get moving, the playground is a pretty damn good gym in the summer time. Especially if you’re up for a little play too. Read on:

Fitness + Funness (is that a word?)
I got creative and designed a strength workout in my back yard while my kids played.  What I forgot, however, was that kids rarely give you 20 minutes of uninterrupted time to exercise. Duh! As if!

Pay attention to meeeee.

Pay attention to meeeee.

So if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Play is important for adults too – it helps us beat stress, connect to others, and stay sharp.  Annie Brees and I even created a program here in Des Moines called Recess for adult playground games.

I created this workout as a “meet in the middle”solution for getting some strength and conditioning work in while having fun in the yard or playground. Play is a fantastic way to bond with our kids, even if sometimes you wish they’d give you 10 minutes to get stuff done, or just go to the bathroom in peace.  Take short bursts of time to run around and move with them, and they’ll likely let you sneak in some sets of strength moves too. If they’re old enough, they can join in too.

The Work Hard Play Hard Workout:
3-4 rounds of the following, or as many as you can do with you kids cooperating:

1. As many reps of pullups/negative pullups (start at the top and slowly lower) as you can do from monkey bars…

pulluppicmonkey

OR

10-12 suspension rows with a swing

susrowpic

2. 1 round of freeze tag.

3. 8-10 Bulgarian Split squats per leg, using a step or bench for rear leg.

Put your front foot around 3 feet in front of your bench, and your back foot elevated  on the bench. Slowly lower your rear knee toward the floor. It's okay to lean forward a bit on these to focus on your booty.

Put your front foot around 3 feet in front of your bench, and your back foot elevated on the bench. Slowly lower your rear knee toward the floor. It’s okay to lean forward a bit on these to focus on your booty.

4. Handstand/cartwheel/somersault showdown. Warning: somersaults are a lot more uncomfortable when you’re 40 years old. Good God.

henry handstand

5. As many pushups as you can do with good form. Use a bench or stair if it’s too hard to go from the ground.

pushup

6. 5 minutes of kickball, soccer, or playing catch.

kickball

7. 10 Leg curls using the swing.

Put your heels on the seat of the swing. Lift your hips and bring your heels toward your butt.

Put your heels on the seat of the swing. Lift your hips and bring your heels toward your butt. Try to keep your hips up high for the whole set.

8. Red Light Green Light – sprint, crawl, or shuffle your way to victory.

Finally, after the workout, play a round of hide and go seek. Find a really good hiding spot. Bring a good book, and maybe you’ll get a few minutes of quiet. Seriously though, when I take a little time to play with my kids for even a little while, they burn off their crazy, fight less, and then chill out so I can get some work done. Plus we have a good time together. Go play!

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