This past Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, we found ourselves waking up to above average temperatures and abundant sunshine. At least we did on the east coast for a change.
For those that had the opportunity, they took advantage of being outdoors and soaking up as much as that sunshine as they could. After all, this past winter season seemed like it would never come to a close. People took advantage of the warmer mornings and ample sunshine by taking walks early from the coffee shops to work, eating their lunches outside or just taking the opportunity to walk during their lunch breaks. For most of the country, this April has been one of the coldest and snowiest on record, so a few days of above average warmth was very welcomed.
Today, with a vast majority of parents both working and having to deal with raising children at the same time. Finding the opportunity to let them get out and play at a young age can be difficult at times. But like the adults, our kids need to be active on a daily basis, and if you have the opportunity to take them to a neighborhood park, all the better. This gives them not only time to let loose with some of that pent-up energy from being indoors all winter and most of this spring, but studies have shown that children do much better academically when physical activity, along with an active mobile lifestyle is part of their daily routine. And while they're going up and down that sliding board, or playing on the jungle gym, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be moving as well, instead of sipping on a cup of coffee, or worse a creamy latte, while browsing through the daily papers.
After all, we all know that we need to move to be fit for our body’s sake, right? So, while the kids are having a great time, taking advantage of all the playground has to offer, you too can get a little physical with some of the playground elements available to you as well. And when the kids see you being active as they go about their playtime, this will only re-enforce the fact that you live up to what you preach!
After all, who wants to work out once the kids are in bed? That’s time for reading magazines and catching up on your favorite TV shows on Netflix or other cable channels. Your kids might not want you playing their games, but you can certainly use the equipment found at the playground for these exercises. You’ll get fit and the kids will have some fun – there’s nothing better than that!
Below are a few things you can do to take advantage of this time outside with your kids and maybe you can show them that you’re not too old to have some fun and make yourself look a little silly at the same time, in the name of being healthy, of course!
1. Squats. No equipment needed. You might as well work your butt and thighs while watching the kids on the slide. Don't worry if you feel like someone is looking at you - they are probably are but they might just be a little jealous of your toned glutes.
2. Monkey bars. Remember how hard it was to go from one end of the monkey bars to the other when you were a kid? It takes an incredible amount of arm strength, which makes those bars ideal for some exercises that you can do at the playground. Grab hold of one bar, palms facing out, and bend your knees with your feet behind you. Pull yourself up and lower yourself down several times. You’ll feel the burn – it’s working the muscles in your arms and your core.
3. The steps, most playgrounds have a set somewhere, and it may be as simple as finding a large nice log and using that as a great tool for working your entire lower half.
Simply stand in front of the steps of the playground and step up and down, alternating your legs as you go. The great thing about this move is that it also counts as cardio, which means you get your heart pumping and burn calories at the same time that you’re strengthening your muscles. Use caution so you don’t slip and fall, but otherwise, have fun!
4. Swings. Pump your legs and be surprised how free, fun and strong you feel. Bonus: Pushing your kids is awesome for the arms. Just be mindful of the kids playing around you and be sure to get off those swings if you see a child looking up at you, thinking you've spent just about as much time on them as you should.
5. Bench. Use a bench to do tricep dips. Put your hands flat on the bench with your butt slightly off. Bend your arms and with your knees bent or legs straight, lower your bottom down and up. Repeat. Ignore the weird looks and try push-ups on the bench while you’re at it. Push-ups are a great way to work your arms and shoulders, but they also give your core a great workout. In case you don’t know the technique, start with your hands and knees resting on the bench. Lower and raise your body using your arms. Once you get stronger, you can lift your knees and do push-ups while on your hands and toes with your legs straight out behind you.
6. Decline Sit-Ups: Traditional sit-ups are great for working and toning your midsection. Declined sit-ups enhance the benefits and the playground is the perfect place to get them done. Lie on the end of the slide with your feet up and your head at the bottom. Do sit-ups as you normally do. The extra gravity on your core gives it an extra workout. Just don’t do so many that the kids don’t get a chance to use the slide!
7. Walk. If all else fails, keep moving. Walk circles around the perimeter of the playground and encourage your kids to join you in walking a distance or running, skipping or jumping contest.
Besides the fact that these exercises will get your heart beating, it is a great way to warm up and give yourself a natural burst of energy. And another way you can keep your kid's interest in being fit, at the playground or at home, in school or around the neighborhood is to spark their interest in trying to better their achievements by using a “Kids” activity monitor from Garmin! The Garmin Vivofit Jr 2 Kid's Interactive Activity Tracker This special activity monitor helps to make your children want to be active! Every day that they meet their 60-minute activity goals, they advance in the kid-friendly adventure of their choice! Choose between Mickey’s Birthday Surprise, Ultron’s Revenge, A Marvel Avengers Mission, or BB-8’s Adventure: A Star Wars Story. Garmin has come up with an innovative way to make being active fun, and of course, there are rewards, especially if you purchase different types of bands that associate themselves with the superhero or Disney character of your choice.
The app experience matches the style of band you choose. Get access to new adventures and more fun by purchasing additional bands and pairing them with the free parent-controlled mobile app. Parents can manage their kid’s activity tracker by using the free app. Add multiple children, and see their steps, sleep, daily activities and chore data when it syncs to your mobile device. This is a great way to get your kid's friends involved with being active and getting a little competition going. Just make sure the other parents are on board with the idea and you may be surprised at just how hard it might be to get the kids to sit down and take a break!
So besides using this Garmin Tracker to keep your kids motivated, and getting yourself involved in being active and physical at the same time they are playing, you’re going to find in a short time that your family has become more energetic and that there is so much more to do then simply watching your kids playing from the sidelines.
Go ahead, put that paper and coffee cup down and get some stretching and walking done. What are you waiting for, your own Star Wars monitor??
Well, that can be a topic for another post, somewhere down the road, maybe in a galaxy far, far, away!
From the active gang here at PedometersUSA.com