Go Out and Play!

You try so hard to be faithful to your workouts. You manage to get yourself to the gym or go for a walk almost everyday, which is so great for your body and mind. But, there are days when you dread your workout. You’re so bored of the same old thing. The thought of hitting that elliptical or treadmill – again– makes you seriously consider cleaning out the refrigerator instead. If this is the case, then it sounds like you need to shake things up.

How? It’s time to take a cue from the kids and get outside and play! Have you ever noticed how much fun kids are having when they’re playing at the park? They’re running around, climbing up the ladders, swinging across the monkey bars and sliding down the slides. They’re laughing as they’re playing tag or shooting the ball around for a good old-fashioned game of HORSE. When I see my own kids having a ball at the park, I think, “why can’t that be me having that much fun?”. Well, it can. By tapping into your inner child, you rediscover how to loosen up, have fun, and just live freely.  Here’s some suggestions for turning  your neighborhood park into your own personal play zone.

  • Alternate one lap of walking/running around the park with one of the following activities:
  • Monkey bar pull-ups
  • Swinging across the monkey bars
  • Hop-overs: stand to one side of the slide or a bench, hips squared to the front; contract your abs and place your hands on the sides of the slide or bench for stability; bend your knees and push off, hopping to the other side of the slide or bench, landing with soft knees. Repeat for 30 seconds-1 minute.
  • Walking lunges through the sand
  • Climb up the slide
  • Climb a rock wall, a mesh ladder, a pole, or anything else that you can climb.
  • Jump rope or hula hoop for a minute
  • Skip the length of the park or basketball court and then jog back
  • Monkey bar tucks: Stand under the monkey bars and grasp the bars above your head, hands about shoulder-length apart. Hanging with your arms straight, contract your abs and bend your knees into your chest, pausing at the top of the move; slowly lower your legs to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
  • Step-ups on a bench: Step up and down on a bench, leading with your right foot for 20 repetitions; switch lead leg to left and repeat 20 more times.
  • Run up the slide and then slide down, as many times as you can
  • Make a hopscotch court with some sidewalk chalk, find a rock for a marker, and relive those days of fun at recess in elementary school!
  • Walk across a balance beam
  • End the session by swinging on the swings. How high can you get?

Do you have access to a basketball court? If so:

  • Run hoop sprints: Start at center court and run to the hoop and make a layup with a basketball (if you don’t have a ball, just make an imaginary layup); run back to center and repeat 10 times.
  • Side shuffle (a.k.a. lateral drills): start at one baseline and side shuffle the length of the basketball court; reverse lead leg as you return to the starting point. Keep low as your shuffle, like you’re maintaining a squat position the entire time.

I promise that you’ll have a great workout, but even more importantly, you’ll have so much fun just being a kid again.

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