As a parent, I have a mental map of many of the playgrounds in my area. Which ones are closest, which ones are shadiest on a sunny day, which ones have equipment that’s best for younger kids. But it takes time to build up that kind of knowledge.
This month we’re going to get outside and exercise on the playground! Swings, slides and monkey bars all make great workout equipment, plus you’re usually surrounded by park benches, trees and other structures to use creatively. This is gonna be fun.
Several readers wrote to let me know about an app that shortcuts the process: Playground Buddy. You can use it to find playgrounds near you.
Some are just points on a map, but others have photos and detailed listings of what equipment is available. It doesn’t get quite detailed enough to tell you which ones have good monkey bars, but it does let you know what kind of surface is under the equipment, whether there are bathrooms and other useful information.
It isn’t just for workouts, of course. You can use the app to find playgrounds for kid-friendly fun, or best of all, a playground where your kids can play while you work out. (If you don’t have kids and would prefer to work out on your own, I’d recommend going in the early morning or late evening, or just choosing a playground that’s out of the way and not very popular.)
So what can you do if you still can’t find a playground with the equipment you want? Try these moves instead, which you can do on a park bench or any similar height object:
- Bench dips, with your hands behind you on the bench and your feet on the ground.
- Step-ups or box jumps for a quad workout.
- Bulgarian split squats, with one foot behind you on the bench. These are a tough leg exercise that’s great for balance.
You can get creative with variations on these. Try bench dips with only one foot on the ground, sideways step-ups, or burpees where the jump portion is replaced with a box jump.