By Karen Trom from the November 2011 Edition
Change your CHOICES, Change your LIFE
It’s Recess Time!
School is back in session and it’s time for us to pretend we are kids again! Most people think they need to go to a gym or fitness club to work out when all we need to do is take a trip back in time and hit the playground. Parks and playgrounds are perfect for a full body workout. Another plus to living in Manzanillo? Your tongue won’t get stuck to the frozen monkey bars!! Lace up your sneakers, grab a water bottle and let’s get going.
Walking or biking to the nearest park is an ideal way to warm up and get your blood pumping. If you simply must drive, take 5 minutes or so to do some jumping jacks, jogging in place or jump roping (you don’t need a rope-just pretend) to raise your heart rate a bit.
How long has it been since you have been on a swing? It was fun as a kid and while it is still fun, it can also be a great ab workout. Sit on the swing, hold the chains, then lean back about 45 degrees. Extend your legs straight in front of you with your feet together and toes pointed. Open your legs slightly to form a V, then cross your left calf over your right, contracting your core muscles to keep the swing as still as possible.
Return to V position for one count, then cross your right calf over your left to complete the set. Do 12 to 15 sets. After you tone up your abs, take a moment to just swing!
Find a jungle gym bar that is 3-4 feet high. Using an underhand grip and keeping your hands shoulder-width apart, extend your legs in front of you until your chest is under the bar; place your feet hip-width apart. Pull your chest close to the bar by drawing your elbows alongside your ribs. Straighten arms and repeat. Aim to do five pull-ups; work up to 12 to 15.This is like an upside down push up. This is easier than pull-ups as your feet are resting on the ground but it is great for your upper back and biceps.
Go to the slide (or use a park bench) to do some lunges for your butt and legs. Stand facing away from the slide and rest your left foot on the bottom of it; place your hands on your hips. Bend your right knee until your right thigh is almost parallel to the ground, but don’t let your knee move farther forward than above your toes. Return to starting position by pressing through your right heel. Do 12 to 15 reps, and then repeat with the other leg. The leg that is on the ground is working; the one that is on the slide is there for balance.
Don’t feel you have to do this on the slide or bench, lunges on flat ground will also tone your bottom.
Push Ups are a great exercise for your whole body. I do these on an angled ladder but you could do them on a park bench or on the ground as well. Keeping your body straight, bend your elbows out and lower your chest almost to the ladder or bench. Push up with a big exhale. Do 10-15, really concentrating on keeling your abs tight and working your chest and shoulders.
Triceps Dips. The triceps are the muscles on the back of your arm that keeps wiggling when your arm stops waving. It’s not an easy exercise but your arms will look amazing with some effort. Sit on a bench and grip the edge with your hands shoulder-width apart. Scoot off the bench and extend your legs in front of you, bending your knees slightly. The farther and straighter your legs are, the more difficult this will be. Bend your elbows and lower your butt a few inches toward the ground, keeping your back close to the bench; slowly press back up. Do 12 to 15 reps. Don’t use your legs to push you up and down; all your weight is in your arms.
These are just a few moves, look around and see what else looks like fun- I am trying to master regular pull-ups while hanging from the monkey bars, I am up to 2. These are difficult for women as we have weaker upper bodies, but I am going to keep working at it!
Do another 20-30 minutes of cardio (run –walk- bike-jump rope), then some stretches and you’re done!