A schoolyard workout can bring out the kid in you, while giving you the heart-healthy exercise that’s an important part of adult life. If you’ve ever watched a bunch of kids playing in the schoolyard, you’ll see that they are constantly in motion. That means they’re constantly burning calories, strengthening muscle, and building endurance. You can get all these benefits, and have some serious fun, by using your favorite childhood games as inspiration for a playful schoolyard workout. Read on to learn how you can use kid-friendly moves like the hokey pokey as the basis for a fun workout session.
The Hokey Pokey
Warm Up And Cool Down By Shaking It All Around
Doing the hokey pokey isn’t going to give you the buff body of an Olympian, but it makes an ideal warm up for your schoolyard workout. The hokey pokey gently raises your heart rate, and the movements of the dance will get blood flowing to all your extremities. Plus, the hokey pokey will get you in the right mindset. Think back to your own days of afternoon recess: chances are, you weren’t thinking about health or weight loss, you were just having a good time. Starting your schoolyard workout with the hokey pokey will make it easier to throw off the cares and worries of your day so that you can focus on playing and having fun. You can also try the hokey pokey as a cool down routine: finishing your workout with a quick “shake it all about” will lift your mood as you celebrate a job well done.
Tip: Warming up with a few bouts of the hokey pokey before you get into more strenuous activities helps protect your muscles against injury or strain.
A Lighthearted Session Of Serious Cardio
Hopscotch is one of the most lighthearted games that you can incorporate into your schoolyard workout. Grab your chalk and head for a sidewalk where you can draw yourself a hopscotch board. Stick with the classic layout, or get creative and make up your own wild shapes to jump around. Try interspersing a round of hopscotch with a minute or two of jogging; after a couple of cycles you’ll find yourself huffing, puffing, and grinning. For maximum cardiovascular benefit, play and run in your target heart range for twenty minutes or more before cooling down.
Tip: It’s always important to stretch before and after a workout, but it’s an especially great idea if your workout will focus primarily on one muscle region- in this case, your lower body. Once you’re warmed up, try a few lunges to keep your leg muscles happy. Do a few more while your heart rate is slowing after your schoolyard work out.
Twisting Your Way To A Shapely, Trimmed Waist
One of the most inexpensive and iconic toys of childhood is the hula hoop. Who would have thought that this simple toy could be a great workout tool? When you incorporate a hula hoop into your schoolyard workout, you’re doing your torso a big favor. The wiggling you’ll do to keep the hoop in motion works several muscle groups, including your obliques. Obliques are the muscles on the sides of your torso, which are responsible for twisting and turning. They’re also responsible for defining your waist, so hula hooping will bring you that much closer to a shapely midsection.
Tip: Remember to change the direction of your rotations every few minutes so that you work both sides of your body evenly.