If you’ve been following the blog of late, you may remember that I sustained a weird knee injury back in early March. Apparently the theory that climbers don’t need to do any sort of workout for their legs is FALSE, as I’ve been strongly advised to incorporate some leg-strengthening exercises into my workout routine. Anyway, in addition to all of the weird little exercises that my PT has prescribed for me (most of which make me feel ridiculously uncoordinated), I’ve also added a few more conventional activities into the mix.
For one thing, I’ve been replacing some of my weekly runs with biking. And as I do every year during this perfect time of year when spring has sprung, I’ve been making a point to bike rather than drive wherever possible. Fortunately our community is set up rather well for eco-commuting (which is actually one of the primary reasons we chose it). Within 1 mile I can reach the grocery store and several other restaurants and stores, along with our pediatrician, chiropractor, and the Alcan Dental Group dentist. Bring the radius up to 3 miles and I can be at C’s school, the library, Trader Joe’s, the greenway system, and not to mention numerous parks/playgrounds within 15-20 minutes – all via either well-maintained sidewalks or cut-throughs on neighborhood roads with very low traffic.
In addition to the extra biking, I’ve also been sneaking in a bit of cross training into our playground days – did you know that playgrounds are perfectly set up for a quickie Mommy (or Daddy) workout? For example, here’s what our most recent trip consisted of:
1. Bike to playground (3.5 miles).
2. Wall Sits (against the fence)
4. Step-ups (on a park bench)
5. Calf Raises (single leg, also on a bench)
6. Yoga Balance Poses (Tree, Dancer, Warrior 3, Eagle, etc)
8. Bike home (3.5 miles).
What was C doing during all of this time? On the bike ride, he was in his trailer – singing, reading, or shouting out interesting things he saw along the way (fire truck, daffodils, a car that looked like Mommy’s, etc). When we got to the playground, he wanted to take his bucket of matchbox cars to the top of the slide and send them down one by one. While they were on the way down (there were 20 so each round took a while!), I would do a set of wall sits and lunges. Then he’d slide down and we’d put them back into the bucket together. After a couple of rounds we’d move to a different slide – eventually my legs started getting tired so I switched to the yoga poses. I squeezed in the step-ups when C wanted to sit down at a picnic table for a snack. Before we left C wanted to play with his cars in the sand on the beach volleyball court, so I sat down and played with him, getting some good seated stretching in for good measure. When it was time to go home, we hopped back on the bike, both worn out but happy (but one of us got to rest while the other had to bike home…).
Oh and for those of you that might be wondering what all of the other moms were doing…For whatever reason Charlotte moms don’t seem to bring their kids to the playground until after 10:00, but we’re usually ready to leave the house by 9. So by the time other moms started joining us, I was finished with all of my “conspicuous” exercises (ahem, Warrior 3).
This playground strategy could be tailored to fit just about any workout need – monkey bars are great for pull-ups (even if you can’t do an unassisted pull-up, simply moving across the bars is a great upper body strengthener!). You can do dips either on a bench or on the bridges of the playground apparatus. And of course, there’s always the ultimate shoulder workout – lifting a giggly toddler high up into the air!
All that being said, keep things in perspective and don’t go overboard (ESPECIALLY if it’s just the two of you and YOU are the primary playmate du jour!) Go with the flow (of play). Don’t force your child to go down the slide 2 more times just so that you can get to 5 sets of a certain exercise. This is supposed to be playtime after all. Treat it as such, and you’ll not only squeeze in a quick fitness fix, but also model to your child firsthand that exercise is something that is important, fun, and can be done anywhere!
Has anyone else ever been the weird workout mom at the playground? Does anyone else eco-commute? Feel free to share what works for you personally when it comes to getting some daily exercise in?