It was a LONG winter and we are all excited about spending some time outdoors! The park or playground is the perfect spot for the entire family to move together. While your kids are jumping, swinging and playing it is also a great opportunity for you to do the same with some adult variations. The same exercises and games that children do on the playground can be a challenging workout for an adult, not to mention FUN! I speak from experience. My 8 year old challenged me to do everything she did on a school playground. I made it 2 rounds following her course…….she played for well over an hour! A childs freedom of movement is amazing to watch and try! Try the following workout and let us know how you feel!
Warm-up for 5- 10 minutes. Run around the playground, jump rope, jump sqats, jumping jacks or burpees. Anything that gets your body warm, heart rate up and ready for exercise.
Squats – stand in front of a bench or steps and squat towards a 90 degree angle with the legs 10-15 reps
Monkey Bars – perfect spot for a set of pull-ups (change your grip to work different muscles) Underhand grip will target more biceps, overhand wide grip will target lats and rear shoulders, so mix it up or just trying moving across them like a child. Or challenge yourself or your child to see how long you can hang on the monkey bars in a flexed arm position. Do your best!
Step-Ups – alternate stepping up using power and control. Add a challenge by hopping up onto a step or bench (remember to step down softly). 10-15 each leg
Push-Ups and knee unders – a swing is also a great spot for atomic push-ups. Put your feet in the swing and assume the straight arm plank position. Do a set of push-ups, knee under or pikes. Try 10 of each variation
Swing – pull your navel to your spine and enjoy the ride. Do it until you or child gets board or you become nauseous 🙂
Tricep Dips – use a bench or step and dip towards a 90 degrees using the triceps. 10-15 reps
Play a round of tag with your child for 5-10 minutes
Either repeat this sequence and/or continue to play follow the leader with your child. Most importantly set the example for you child and have fun! Check out Core Sport’s owner Jaime White and fellow movement guru Benjamin Degenhardt playing in NYC!
“Left foot, left foot, left foot, right. Feet in the morning, feet at night.” Recognize this famous children’s book? I was reading Dr. Seuss’s Foot Book to my son the other night before bed. It reminded me of how important our feet are to movement and how often we neglect them and their supportive musculature. Our foot is designed to be and is the foundation to all human movement.
Our feet are also extremely important for balance. Your foot is the first part of your body that contacts the ground in walking, running, skipping, jumping etc. and absorbs all the shock from the impact of the body. Shouldn’t this part of your body and supporting musculature be in top shape? Also, in functional training, a strong stable foot is again the foundation for all movement. Think about a squat, lunge, balance lunge and dead lift to name a few. If your base of support, your foot, is unstable due to tightness or weakness, that affects the entire body and throws off your alignment. Looking at our footwork in Pilates, whether it is performed on the reformer, chair or standing, if your feet are weak and lack the proper support, then your lower extremities are likely to be out of alignment. So what can we do for our feet? Other than the periodic pedicure, our feet need and deserve some TLC.
For starters, go barefoot as often as you can. Your feet have many nerve endings and trigger points that give you feedback about your environment. When your feet are supported by a shoe they rely more on that support as opposed to the foots own structural support. When you do wear shoes try to find a supportive shoe that’s comfortable and try to limit the amount of time your feet spend in high heels and flip flops. Another key ingredient to happy feet is stretching and rolling the supporting musculature. I know I’m guilty of spending a lot of time stretching and rolling my hamstrings, quads and glutes and only save the last few minutes for a quick calve stretch. Thinking about what I just mentioned shouldn’t your lower extremities be where you should spend a little more time? Take the time to properly roll out and stretch the muscles on both the anterior and posterior sides of your lower leg. Even roll the bottom of your foot. Trust me your feet will thank you!
Think about all the ways your body moves on a daily basis: bending to pick up grocery bags, squatting and twisting to get into and out of your car, picking up a child, going for a walk or a run, standing up or sitting down at your desk, or playing a game of pick up at the gym. Individuals perform a variety of these types of activities throughout the day. Functional training is focused on more than just increasing your muscular strength but also the relationship between the nervous and muscular systems.
Traditional strength training machines tend to isolated muscles in a controlled and stable environment and do not mimic natural movement. For example, a squat is a more “functional” movement than your traditional knee extension machine. Perfecting your squat is going to strengthen and simplify the tasks mentioned above much easier and pain free! Simply stated, functional training improves the performance of one’s activities of daily living. It’s fitness for function.