Somewhere along the line, we stopped playing. Think about it. As kids, we’d spend our summer days playing hide & seek or kick-the-can with all our friends, never thinking about exercise at all. The idea of seeking out a “workout”… totally foreign. Our play was the workout! Now here we are, grown-ups, and instead of playing, we exercise. The good old chore of exercise. Some days it feels like so much work, I’d rather clean my toilets. I never felt that way as a kid. Clean toilets or play at the playground? Duh! So why should exercise, the adult substitute for play, make me feel like cleaning toilets? Because it’s simply not fun like playing was. Boy, we really screwed up when we stopped playing.
Let’s channel a little of our childhood spirit. Who’s with me!? Playgrounds are quite common at RV campgrounds…maybe there’s one where you are now! Here are some exercises you can do that will get you back on the playground. You only need a swing and a youthful sense of adventure. Grandbaby Amelia is swinging next to me, and she was demanding pushes between photos. Do you notice the strange looks she’s giving me? The kids at the playground might give you strange looks too, but hey, maybe you’ll give them some new play ideas.
Swing Pull Squats
Muscles worked: legs, glutes, back, biceps, and core
Grab the chains of the swing. Keep the chains taut as you pull them down with you into a squat. Make sure your hips drive back, keeping your knees behind your toes.
Muscles worked: legs and glutes
This one’s an excellent coordination challenge. Grab the chains and face sideways to the swing as you lift your near leg and climb over the seat of the swing until both feet are on the other side of the swing.
Muscles worked: core, calves, chest, shoulders, and triceps
Place your forearms in the seat of the swing and get in plank position. Lift and lower your heels.
Muscles worked: back, biceps, and core
Keep your body straight and your legs straight as you lean back with your arms extended, and then pull yourself up so that the swing comes to your chest.
Muscles worked: core, hips, and quads
Sit on the swing, hold the chain, and lean back. Alternate lifting right knee up and then left knee up as you tighten your core and bring your chest up simultaneously.
Muscles worked: chest, triceps, shoulders, and upper core
Place your palms in the seat of the swing. Keep your arms straight and your body aligned as you use your bodyweight to let your arms raise.
Muscles worked: hamstrings, glutes, triceps, and core
Lie on your back with your arms down at your sides and your heels on the swing seat. Lift your hips as high as you can and keep them there, don’t drop them at all during the set. Press your heels into the seat as you bend your knees and draw the swing seat in towards your body.
Newbies, stop here! The next exercises are for advanced exercisers only.
Muscles worked: core, arms, shoulders, legs… everything!
Shins are in the seat, hands are on the ground in push-up position. Draw your knees in and let your hips rise. So fun! I loved doing these.
Muscles worked: chest, core, and triceps
Place your hands on the ground and your shins in the seat. Perform pushups by bending your arms and bringing your head down towards the ground. Make sure you keep your body aligned and your hands under your shoulders.
And that’s it for playground fun! Let me know if you have any questions, playground experiences, or other exercise suggestions!