Swing into summer with playground workouts

Rosemarie Gearhart

 (Rosemarie Gearhart)

Summer is upon us and in some cities kids are already out of school. I am finding that a lot of moms are already overwhelmed and putting fitness on hold.

But, you can occupy yourself with your kids at the park and playground, setting an example and having fun.

In fact, even Men’s Fitness Magazine believes a playground workout is not just “child’s play,” and says it will, “refresh your body and recondition it for the more 'adult' workouts you're used to.”

According to Julie Deardoff of the The Chicago Tribune, “If you're strapped for time, playgrounds are ideal workout spots, and not just because they're free. You're stuck there anyway, they've got all the equipment you need, and research shows even tiny bouts of exercise are associated with increased fitness."

Start swinging your little one and you will work your back and triceps as you pull the swing back, and you'll work your chest as you push the swing forward.

You can also use the swing to work your lower body for the following exercises:

Swing Bridges
Place your heels on the swing and lie on your back under the swing, with your arms straight down at your sides. Slowly, squeezing your legs together and raise your hips off the floor, lift your butt off the ground in a bridge position.

Continue until your torso and legs are completely straight. Hold for 5 seconds and slowly lower yourself back down.
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Swing Hamstring Curls
Place your heels on the swing and lie on your back under the swing, with your arms straight down at your sides. Lift hips until your body is in a straight line.

Contracting the hamstrings, press the heels into the swing and pull it towards you while keeping the glutes and abdominals tight (Stay up, do not drop glutes to the floor.) Bring legs back out and then curl in again.

The Chicago Tribune article also features exercises by celebrity fitness trainer Marco Borges. He uses the swing for what he calls the ab walk-out, “Hold the swing with your hands and keep your feet on one spot, said Borges. Using your abs, stretch your body into an elongated position. Return to the start position.”

For the advanced and very fit, if you want to “swing” to a higher level of ab work, you can come into a plank position with your feet on the swing, legs straight and your torso in a push-up/plank position. Leading with your chest, lower yourself to the ground, then push yourself back up until your arms are straight.

To work the abs even deeper you can also do pikes by pulling your knees into your chest and then bringing them back out to a plank position.