The next time you take your grandchild to the park, don’t just sit there and watch them, have some fun yourself! I have been working out with a personal trainer in the park all summer long, and I was amazed at all the creative things we (50+) people can do on the playground.
- Bring out your inner child by exercising with playground equipment and other objects found in the park. Take advantage of the following exercises:
- Walking is always a favorite, but how about walking with a 5-10 lb. stone on one shoulder and switch the stone to the other shoulder to walk in the opposite direction?
- Walk holding a rock in front of body close to chest.
- You can swing next to your grandchild and see how high you can go by pumping your legs.
- Finished swinging? How about doing shoulder pull backs – stand erect and grab the side of the swing (where rubber meets chain), push away from your body and pull back with elbows out to side in a rowing motion.
- Leg lifts – Lie face down holding on to the sides of the seat with legs extended and toes on the ground. Bring one leg at a time straight back to hip height performing 8 – 10 repetitions on each leg.
- Hang from the monkey bars – Feet are off the ground. It takes a lot of upper body strength just to hang there. (Wear exercise gloves to prevent calluses). If you want to challenge yourself, go from bar to bar.
- Climb up and down the sliding board steps. Also try walking up the front of the sliding board and down backwards, or turn around and slide down.
- Squats and pushups on the side of the balancing bars. Also try walking on the metal strips on the ground between the balance bars placing one foot in front of the other. This will improve your balance; the bars are on the side if you need to hold on.
- Try triceps press downs on the playground equipment or on a picnic bench. Sit facing away from bench, legs extended in front. Using arms for support lower hips toward the ground and pressing back up.
- Leg lift tap – On playground equipment or face a bench and bring one leg up and tap toe on bench and bring leg back to ground and then the other leg—toe tap and down. Repeat by alternating legs several times.
Finish up with stretches to help maintain flexibility and keep the muscles from getting sore:
- With leg forward, slightly bend knee with the hind leg back with the heel pressed to the ground. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Switch legs.
- Bring one arm across chest and press shoulder with other hand; hold for a 10 second count and then repeat with other arm.
- Slowly bend forward from the hips for lower back stretch. Come up slowly, while rounding back and keeping abs tight.
Good job! Head on home after a great workout and with your grandchild feeling very invigorated. Your grandchild will probably be impressed and very proud of you as well.