My two youngest nephews stayed with me over Labor Day weekend. Like most kids all they wanted to do was play games on their Kindles and watch TV. Sunday morning was pretty nice outside so I decided to get them out the house to get some exercise.
Despite their reluctance we walked to a place I knew they would enjoy. I took them to the elementary school in my neighborhood. This particular school has a decent sized playground. Immediately their eyes lite up with excitement. Looked like Uncle Mike was right!
We all have different memories of playing at playgrounds as youngsters. Some remember the big kid on top of the slide not allowing kids to slide down. Others have memories of that special little girl or boy they had a crush on. That very first time you touch hands with each other as you marched back into school after recess. Remember this song?
Good ole fashion love and exercise at the playground. You can be a Romeo or you can be an Arnold. Romeo is all about finding romance. Whereas, Arnold is all about the equipment. Arnold will use his imagination to make that playground into the ultimate obstacle course.
Hidden Physical Workouts
As I sat back and observe my nephews it amazed me just how awesome playgrounds have become. There’s so many hidden physical activities at the playground. You have the monkey bars to increase grip, arm and back strength. This particular playground had wall climbing hooks.
Wall climbing is a clever modern way to disguise upper body pulling movements. Back in the day there was the hated rope climbing movement. I never had to do rope climbing in PE, but considering I could barely do a pull up, I know I would have been embarrassed!
Playgrounds have slides built for well……sliding. Nothing athletic there. But if you are like most kids you actually run up the slides. That’s almost the equivalent of doing hill sprints.
There are chain ladders for your legs and arms. The chain ladder also aids in your balance and muscle stabilization. Notice how chain ladders are often vertically short? That’s so kids don’t get too hurt while their young muscles get use to the unbalanced stimulation.
A playground’s greatest gift may just be the fact that it is a great way for a kid to socialize. How many times did you make a new friend with a stranger at the playground?
[Let’s pause for a second. Ummm, let me rephrase that!]
How many times did you make friends with a kid you didn’t know at the playground?
[Yes that sounds much much better!]
When we are young we would just walk straight up to a new kid and start playing with them. The common friend is the playground. No second guesses about race, politics, or social status. Just good childhood fun
Playground For Adults
Maybe that’s why gyms are so popular for adults. We miss the social interaction with folks we don’t know. We all go to the gym to work out, but we also go to be seen. Why do you think gym classes are so popular? It’s all about the socialization. It’s just too bad that as adults we are more hesitant to make a new friend than we were as kids.
Next time you are at the gym think about your childhood playgrounds. Look for all the similarities. Are all the boys on one side of the gym while all the girls on the other? Are the guys trying to be macho to impress the ladies? Are some ladies chatting in a small group? Funny how things doesn’t change right !
Go Out and Have Fun!
Playgrounds are awesome equipment that can get you in decent shape for free. You can shape and tone your arms,back, legs and shoulders. Remember that the perfect workout plan is one in which you can just have fun. If you feel yourself or even you kids are getting out of shape, find a playground! Embrace your inner youth and go for it!
Just be certain you’re not the ONLY ADULT at the playground. You don’t want to be known as THAT person 😉