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How-To Use the Playground for Exercise

It's common knowledge that exercise is a vital part of staying fit and living a healthy life. Unfortunately, life's demands can leave a person with very little free time, and exercise is often one of the first things that gets pushed to the wayside. Additionally, another deterring factor when it comes to getting a good workout is finances. Many times, people see the gym as the ideal place to get a full workout; however, the cost of gym membership can be off-putting. Combined with a lack of free time, the cost of gym membership can leave people looking for more realistic, inexpensive, and convenient options. Fortunately, one doesn't need a gym for a gym-worthy workout. Mothers, fathers, older siblings, or anyone charged with caring for children will likely take them to outdoor playgrounds on a frequent basis. These play areas, while fun for kids, are ideal for helping adults and teens reach their fitness goals. Instead of simply sitting and watching their children play, adults can turn play equipment into a thorough workout. They can even use the blacktop or grass for basic exercises such as sprints. Even teens and adults who don't have children can use the playground to perform the same gym-style exercises without the gym equipment or fees.

Bench Exercises

Benches are a common presence at most playgrounds. They're a place for tired children to catch their breath and for parents to take a seat while their kids play. For workouts, a bench can be used for strengthening the triceps and shoulders in a move that's called triceps dips or bench dips. To complete this move, one must sit on the bench and move forward so that they are on the edge. Placing both hands on the bench next to the hips, the person will need to grip the edge and push off it so that their buttocks are no longer on the seat but hovering in front of it. Walk both legs forward about six inches and keep the knees slightly bent. Once in this position, bend the arms to slowly lower the body toward the ground. Maintaining good form is important to the success of this move, so the back must be kept straight and close to the bench. After lowering the body, raise it back up using the arms again. This should be repeated for one minute or for 12 repetitions.

Swing Exercises

There are plenty of ways to utilize playground swings for a good workout. Push-ups are a popular and interesting way to use swings. A standard push-up is performed with both feet in the seat of the swing and both hands flat on the ground. Pike push-ups on the swing are another form of exercise that works the biceps, shoulders, chest, back, and core. To perform this type of push-up, the exerciser should place both feet in the swing and assume the same position as a push-up. To begin this type of push-up, the individual pushes both the feet and arms downward so that their hips are lifting skyward and the body is in the pike position. The hips are lowered back down, and the individual immediately performs a push-up before starting over again. A person should perform ten repetitions of the swing pike push-up.

Using Slides

It might be hard to imagine a slide as useful for a workout, but it can help when it comes to performing lunges. Lunges workout the glutes, quads, and hamstrings, and the height and sturdiness of slides make them ideal tools to get the most out of this move that is referred to as a slide lunge. To perform the slide lunge, locate a slide that is not currently in use. Turning so that their back is away from the slide, the individual should take a very large step away from the equipment. The left foot is then lifted and placed on the slide. The right knee is then bent while the arms are either loose at the sides or with hands on hips. When bending the knee, form is crucial to avoid injury. The knee should never extend further than the toes, and at the bottom of the move, the thigh should be nearly parallel to the surface of the playground. Once the move is complete, slowly move back to the starting position and repeat. Continue repeating the lunge with the right leg until ten to 12 repetitions have been completed. Once finished, lower the left foot and replace it with the right. Repeat the moves, now lunging with the left leg. This move can be performed using the seat of a swing as well.

Using the Monkey Bars

The monkey bars are a part of a playground's jungle gym and are typically a childhood favorite, but when used by exercising adults, they are a great way to work one's core and biceps. To accomplish this, one can use the monkey bars for pull-ups or chin-ups. This simple move involves grasping the bar using both hands. When grasping the bar, people will want to have their palms facing them, and their hands should be situated so that they are the same width apart as the shoulders. Appropriate positioning involves crossing one ankle over the other and slightly bending the knees. When performing the chin-up, use the arms to pull the body up toward the bar, stopping when the chin is just past it. Once this position is reached, the body is slowly lowered to the starting position. This return move should take at least three seconds to complete. Complete ten repetitions. The monkey bars may also be used for leg lifts as well. For this move, do not cross the ankles, and keep the legs straight. Instead of lifting the entire body toward the bar, raise both legs up and out so that they are extended straight in front of the body. They are then lowered to the starting position before the move is repeated.

Additional Jungle Gym Uses

The jungle gym is a versatile piece of play equipment that can be used for working out various parts of the body. A person may use the jungle gym to complete standing push-ups by using bars, like the ones on a ladder, that are no higher than the chest. Bars that are waist-height on jungle gyms can be used for leg lifts that help to tone the buttocks. For leg lifts, use the bar to balance while lifting one leg up behind the body. The leg on the ground is kept straight while the lifted leg is pulsed upward around ten times. Repeat with the opposite leg.

Find more about the author: Kim Hart