How wooden playground equipment could be incorporated into the outdoor workout?
Recently there has been a huge increase in the amount of outdoor playground equipment designed for exercise use. Councils, employers, schools, colleges, hotels and of course gyms, have been installing dedicated outdoor gym equipment to encourage more of the population to reap some of the benefits of exercising in the open.
Exercising outdoors is proven to be extremely beneficial – both physically and mentally – but if your local park hasn’t got around to installing body weight rowing machines and cross-trainers you need not miss out. All you need is some widely available wooden playground equipment and a bit of determination!
Before you start
First things first: you might be getting in touch with your inner kid by exercising but some parents can be funny about adults using outdoor playground equipment – especially if you’re not at the park with your kids – so it’s best to keep your sessions to early morning and late evening. And warm up by gently running to the playground, or taking in a couple of laps of the park.
Squatting on two legs is hard. Squatting on one leg is much, much harder. Going from two legs to one requires practice and a swing is the ideal piece of equipment to help. Hold the seat for balance as you go down into the lowest squat you can manage, then stretch one leg out, parallel to the floor. Build reps slowly if you’re not used to it.
Another exercise you can use a swing seat for is the Ab-rollout. Stand over the swing with your hands on the seat, then push it away from you, without moving your feet, and return to the start position.
Wooden playground equipment often has bars or ladders a couple of feet off the ground. These lend themselves well to Inverted Rowing (Slide under, grab the bar and lift yourself up and down). Depending on the design of the outdoor playground equipment you may also be able to use them for pull-ups and dips too.
Swinging hand from hand is great for building upper body strength. You can also use this piece of outdoor playground equipment for chin-ups and similar exercises.
All playgrounds have somewhere for parents to sit – but you can use the benches for bench jumps, push-ups, Bulgarian split squats, dips and many other similar exercises where a small amount of elevation is required.
So, next time the kids want to visit the park, or you’re passing an empty playground, there’s really no reason not to work out!