Top Ways to Put Your Local Playground To Use

This one's mainly for the busy mums (and dads!) out there... Or anybody else who regularly finds himself or herself wandering past one of the many local parks the Northern Suburbs and Beaches have to offer.

With summer moving into full swing it's likely that more time is going to be spent outdoors. However, with the beach often too windy, crowded or rough, chances are that on a nice summer's day we will find ourselves going out for a stroll or hunting around for local parks (especially those of you with young ones) to pass time with.

What better way to kill two birds with one stone-entertaining the kids at the park and getting a work out (or rehab session) in at the same time. It's all about scoping out the park and using the equipment available to facilitate your exercise session.

Top park resources to use:

  1. Swing: Pushing your little one on a swing can be both enjoyable for them and beneficial for you. With each and every push you are subconsciously having to activate your core (both the abdominal and deeper back muscles). If you weren't, you would be falling backwards every time the swing made contact with you and falling forwards every time you went to push it. For added benefits, try activating your pelvic floor with each push too!
  2. Step: Good for a number of exercises or as an apparatus to help you stretch your lower body. The height of the step will change the difficulty level of the exercise
    Exercise options:
    • step ups (higher=harder)
    • heel raises
    • push ups (higher=easier)
    • planks (higher=easier)
    • hamstring
    • gluteals
    • calf

    *hold stretches for 20-30 seconds at the point of “pulling” not “pain”

  3. Bench: rather than sitting down and letting the kids do all the hard work, you can put that bench to some extra use. It has similar uses as a step with the addition of being able to use it for tricep dips.

  4. Pole: a good device to help stretch the upper body.
    • Pectorals
    • Latissimus dorsi "lats"
    • Biceps
    *hold stretches for 20-30 seconds at the point of “pulling” not “pain”
  5. See- saw: Hello leg burn! Being on the other end of a see-saw styled piece of equipment means a lot of bouncing on your part to attempt to make up for the uneven distribution of weight. Just think of every bounce as a form of squat (therefore the same technique rules apply!). Don't let your knees come too far over your toes and remember to squeeze your butt! If you are getting any sharp pains, in particular your knees, hips or back do not continue.
  6. Land-based: You can always add in a selection of land-based exercises such as squats, jump squats and lunges while you wait for the kids to move from one piece of equipment to the next. Alternatively a quick game of "tip" or "hide and seek" will sufficiently raise the heart rate and get a touch of cardio in there too!

We are lucky to have access to so many parks in the Northern Suburbs and Beaches area, which is great for variety! 4 of my favourite parks to visit in the area are:

Turramurra Memorial Park- a great sized, open park that is split into two main sections. One section is enclosed and designed for the younger children and the other is equiped with rope climbing, flying fox and table tennis for the older, more adventurous kids. Here, you've also got access to a football oval and tennis courts for greater ground space!

Wahroonga Park- a modern, enclosed park with a great variety of equipment for the kids (and you!). There's also plenty of grass and trees amongst the lovely landscaped gardens to set up camp for ground based stretching and core exercises. On another note, once you're done with the park you can stop in at one of the nearby cafes to grab the kids a treat and reward yourself with a coffee or juice.

Flying Fox Park in Mona Vale- located in the beautiful waterside location of the Winnererremy Reserve. Another great sized, fully enclosed park, which is suitable for kids of all ages. Like it's name suggests one of the favourite pieces of equipment would be the large flying fox! Just outside the park you've got easy access to bike (or scooter) paths and a lot of flat-grassed areas. This park definitely ticks of all the boxes, including plenty of seating areas as well as access to a cafe.

Mona Vale Beach Park-another good sized park with plenty of room to run around! All the loved playground equipment along with the added benefit of having access to the beach right there! A perfect way to cool off after a park session or finish off with some added cardio with a walk along the beach. I can never go past picking up a snack from The Kiosk Café either…

All of these parks are of good size, with a great variety of equipment, making them fantastic options for kids of all ages (and the exercising parent of course!). Not only is there plenty of equipment to choose from but there's a great amount of ground space to run around in as well (to truly wear the little ones out while getting your extra bit of added cardio).

Some of the additional pros of a park workout include:

  • FREE
  • Effective use of time
  • No additional equipment needed
  • Do it in your own time
  • Incorporates variety of exercise
  • Can personalise you're own program
  • No need for a babysitter!
  • Fresh air and sunshine

Enjoy the fresh air along with your park workout! You’ll never look at the park in the same way again…


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