Fitness & Nutrition

Get Fit like a Kid: 5 Playground-Style Exercises to Keep You in Shape

By on 03/09/2016

Remember how it felt to run out the door in the middle of the school day to swing around on the monkey bars? Then grab a hula hoop and a jump rope and get moving!

Gyms around the country are bringing back the joy of movement in recess-style fitness classes. Want to get your heart rate up? Run a relay race. Looking to build upper-body strength? Find a partner and do some wheelbarrow push-ups. Don’t belong to a gym or never liked team sports and games? There are plenty of playground-style exercises you can do on your own, at home or in your neighborhood playground.

It’s Playtime! Super Fun Exercises for the Big Kid in All of Us

  1. Jump rope. This is a real calorie burner (up to 350 in 30 minutes)! And it’s a great way to get your heart rate up as well. You can vary your exercise by jumping backward or crossing the rope while you jump, just like you did as a kid.
  2. Hula hoop. You will burn just as many calories as you would in a step aerobics or cardio kickboxing class. It’s a great way to strengthen your core as well and burn that troublesome belly fat.
  3. Monkey bar pull-ups. Try different grips to vary this challenging upper-body and core exercise. An underhand grip (palms facing your body on one bar) will give your biceps a workout, while a neutral grip (palms facing each other on two parallel bars) will strengthen your forearms.
  4. Park bench push-ups. The key is to keep your abs tight and your torso and legs in a straight line as you push away from the bench. You’ll tone and strengthen your chest, shoulders and arms. Make sure your hands are shoulder-width apart as you grasp the bench.
  5. Swing. You won’t burn a lot of calories, but you will strengthen your quads and hamstrings as you pump your legs. If you have young kids, it’s a great way to spend quality time working out together.

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Review Date: December 16, 2015
Reviewed By: Andrew Overman, PT, DPT, MS, COMT, CSCS
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