Watch little kids play; they are exercising without even knowing it. Why? Because they are having fun. Remember when you were a small child? I’ll bet some of your fondest memories are playing tag, hide-and-seek or simply running around the playground.
Instead of working out indoors, take advantage of the cooler weather and take your fitness outside. My favorite place? The playground, of course.
Here are some ideas to make outdoor fitness fun with no equipment required —simply use what you have available at the local park:
• Soccer field: Use it for the obvious, or for tag with the kids, or sprints, agility and suicide drills, interval training, you name it. The possibilities are limitless.
• Monkey bars: Great for focusing on upper body strength, monkey bars can be used for the obvious — “walking” across with your upper body leading the way — or chin ups or even pull ups. For some abs, throw in hanging legs for a roman chair effect. Simply hang by your hands, and pull your knees towards your chest. Lower and repeat.
• Park bench: Great for step ups, plyometric-style jumps, incline and decline push-ups. Also great for ab exercises such as reverse curls, bicycles and crunches.
• Swings: Good for traveling mountain climbers, full-body rows and creative bicep curls. If you really want to get fancy you can do push-ups and planks in it as well, but be forewarned that this is advanced. You’d be better off with a spotter.
Picnic tables can also serve the same function as a park bench, and you could throw in some dips and squats, acting like you are sitting on the picnic bench. Standing leg raises and circles are great for working the outer thigh/glute like crazy.
There are many, many more ideas, but this is a few fun ones to get you started. Try one, some or all, and make sure that you have someone on hand who can correct your form if needed and to ensure that you don’t accidentally injure yourself. Have fun!
Crystal Manjarres is the owner of Pink Island Fitness, a private personal training and Pilates studio on Marco Island. She is a Certified Personal Trainer, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Colon Hydrotherapist and Stott Pilates certified instructor. Her focus is “Empowering men and women of all shapes and sizes”. To send in a question, email PinkIslandFitness@Live.com. She can also be reached at www.PinkIslandFitness.com and 239-333-5771.