Last weekend we took the kids out to “burn off some steam”. We were only planning to be out for a couple of hours, and then go home for lunch, when I’d do a workout. After a very grey start, it turned out to be a beautifully sunny day — so my kids didn’t want to leave! You can create a great workout for losing weight and strengthening your body in a park, so I skipped my usual routine, and got more active.
The next time you’re out for the day with your kids, try this workout challenge, and let me know how you get on. 🙂
Warning — Park equipment is usually intended for use by children, not adults. Be certain the equipment will take your weight before using. Exercise at your own risk.
Exercise 1: Zip Wire Drag
Starting with a warm up exercise, walking as quickly as possible to retrieve your child at the end of the zip wire, and drag them back to the start. If you’re doing this continuously for 5 minutes, it should leave you a little breathless.
At 5 foot 4″ I’m pretty short for a man, but I can walk at 6 mph on a treadmill, which is around the speed of a light jog, but without the impact on the knees and joints…it certainly gets the heart racing!
Exercise 2: L-sit
My kids were playing in the sandpit, so I was looking around for an exercise to do, when I saw some railings on a pretend trailer.
The L-sit exercise: take the full weight of your body on straight arms, lift your legs to horizontal and hold for a minute! I promise I’m not sitting on anything. If you’ve seen some of my other posts, you’ll know that I do L-sits all the time. They will put your abs and triceps on fire!
The L-sit is a tricky one for the ladies as they don’t usually have the strength to hold their body up — so they could do a one-minute knee, or straight-leg plank on the grass instead.
Exercise 3: Body Rows
One of my children started exploring other areas, where I managed to get in some rowing by holding onto netting. If this is a little advanced for you, then you can find a bar or object around chest height, and whilst standing up straight, just lean back a little and row your body to the bar. Aim for 10 reps.
Exercise 4: Dragon Flags
We went back to the sandpit again, where I got in another ab exercise.
Dragon Flags are an exercise popularised by Bruce Lee. With only your upper back in contact with a bench, keep the rest of your body in a strong straight line and lift from vertical to horizontal. It’s substantially more difficult than leg raises. You also need the lat strength to hold on.
This exercise is challenging for most people — but as I usually do the much harder Front Lever in my workouts, Dragon Flags just feel like a light warm-up to me. I’ll probably do a Front Lever tutorial sometime in the future.
If you’re abs aren’t quite strong enough for Dragon Flags, then lie on the grass and do some bent knee, or straight leg raises. Aim for 10 reps.
Exercise 5: Dips
The little darlings were starting to get fried. There were a few groans when I suggested someone jump on my back, so I could do some exercise.
There were quite a few places suitable for dipping. So with a slightly reluctant volunteer, I pumped out some dips. Aim for 10.
For an easier alternative, you can do some bench dips instead, with your feet on the floor.
Exercise 6: Sled Push
There was nobody else around — it was just the two of them sliding down the bank on sledges. So when they came down, I pushed them back up the hill as fast as I could, then walked to the bottom.
I have to confess… pushing two of them in a sledge was really hard going! I could only really get up some speed when I had just one of them in the sled. This is a really great exercise for losing weight, providing you’re going as fast as possible.
Try for 5 minutes, or whenever they get bored. 🙂
Exercise 7: Farmers Walk
Sorry, no photo for this one. Leave some “gas in the tank” for your exit.
If it’s been a long day, you may end up with one or two tired and crying children — so leave yourself a little energy to carry your kids to the car…and then wait for the silence as they fall asleep 5 minutes after you start driving home.
Exercising with Kids: Workout Summary
- Zip Wire Drag (5 minute warm-up)
- L-sit or Plank (1 minute)
- Body Rows
- Dragon Flags or Lying Leg Raises (10 reps)
- Dips or Bench Dips (10 reps)
- Sled Push (5 minutes)
- Farmers Walk – carry them to the car 🙂
I’d love to hear about any other exercises you’ve done in the park with your kids, using the equipment available. Please leave me a message in the Comment box near the bottom of this page — I’ll be on the look out for your ideas. Thanks.
George D. Choy
Personal Trainer & Calisthenics Instructor
Gymnacity in Oxted, Surrey, United Kingdom