“I have no time to workout.” That’s what I often hear fellow moms of babies and toddlers saying. However, this statement simply isn’t true.
There’s plenty of time to workout, even if you’re a working parent. One timesaving and money saving trick I like is to combine exercise with playground visits, since you’re probably already spending a lot of time at local parks anyway. So, as summer swimsuit season kicks into full gear, today’s hint is three ways to turn playground visits into satisfying sweat sessions.
1. Jog (or fast walk) to and from the park. Instead of driving to the playground, buckle your little one up in the stroller, and jog (or speed walk) to the park. Then, let your child play a bit at the playground before jogging home to finish up your two-part workout. If you find that carrying around or chasing a little one at the park isn’t enough to keep your heart rate up between the jogs or fast walks, you can do light jogging in place or strength moves while your child is playing (see playground workout number two below for more on that).
But what if live too close to the park you frequent most often to get a good workout in? You may want to consider visiting a slightly further away playground so you can up your mileage. For instance, while we have a great playground one block away from our house, when I want to get a 3-mile run in, I jog my tot to a different park that is a mile and a half away.
It’s also worth noting that this trick works on vacations too, assuming you have a jogging-suitable stroller with you. Case in point: When we last visited New York, I strapped my daughter into her stroller, jogged to a playground in Central Park from our midtown hotel, let my daughter have some playtime at the park (see the image above), and then I fast walked back to our hotel.
2. Make your own playground workout. In other words, get moving while you’re watching your little one play on the jungle gyms, assuming your child is beyond the baby stage. Moms on my favorite local mom message boards recently discussed these great tips for creating your own playground workout: Turn playground benches, curbs and steps into Stairmasters; do jumping jacks; jump rope; run sprints while your toddler tells you when to stop and go; and do basic strength moves (think push ups, tricep dips and squats) using the playground equipment.
For more on do-it-yourself playground workouts, you can find lots of advice on Pinterest and by simply googling “playground workout.” Among the many resources out there, check out advice from Holly at Domestic Dork and tips from Renee at Belle Amie: Mother of Three. Elsewhere, Pamela Hernandez shares a very helpful playground exercise how-to over at US News, SkinnyMom also offers playground workout instructions and Shape Magazine notes some playground moves to try out.
3. Do a boot camp class near a playground. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a huge fan of mom-and-baby (or mom-and-toddler, in my case now) boot camp classes. My local Baby Boot Camp classes helped me regain my sanity after birth, and I’m still frequenting them at least once a week with my 22-month-old daughter in tow. Generally, the classes are located in parks near playgrounds, so I find that a quick playground visit before and or after the exercise class is a great way to fit both my workout and my daughter’s swing time into my busy day.
What are your tips for combining playground visits with workouts? How do you fit exercise into your daily (or weekly) schedule?