Studio 5 Health & Fitness Contributor, Melanie Douglass, shares easy ways
to sweat, shed pounds and get fit, while enjoying the fresh air of your
How many calories do you think you can burn with a refreshing workout at
the park? 200? 300? What if I told you you could burn ~600 calories
per hour* with a simple circuit workout done using simple objects at
your local park? You can! Yep! Park workouts can be super effective,
efficient (the kids just play while you sweat) and actually, a ton of fun! The
secret is “circuit training” – simply doing a strength exercise for 1 min, then
any cardio (fairly intense) exercise for a minute… and continuing that
pattern for 60 minutes. If you don’t have 60 minutes, no problem… 30
minutes burns about 300 calories! And 10 minutes burns about 100… and
every single calorie you burn makes a positive impact on your health.
There are 5 main areas you can use at a park. I’ve listed 4 basic exercises
for each section. The sequence is set up in a circuit (strength exercise,
cardio/total body exercise pattern). If you do all 20 exercises for 1 minute
each, it will take you 20 minutes. You can repeat the circuit 1, 2 or 3 times
for a 20-, 40- or 60-minute workout.
*Based on 165-pound person and ACSM Compendium of Physical
code 02040 (ACSM Exercise Testing and Prescription, 5th Edition)
Perform each exercise for 1 minute:
1. Park Bench
a. Tricep Dips: hands on the bench, feet out in front, drop
down until shoulders are at elbow level, push back up.
b. Step Ups: Place one foot on the bench and step up, right
left, then step down RL.
c. Incline Push-ups: Place hands on the bench and do a push
d. Mountain Climbers: Place hands on the bench, so you are in
a plank/pushup position, just jog your knees up right/left.
2. Monkey Bars
a. Pull ups: Place your hands on a monkey bar and try to pull
yourself up until your chin is above the bar (most monkey bars are low
enough, that an adult will have to tuck their feet behind with bent knees)
b. Jump Touches: Squat down behind the monkey bar, jump
up and touch the bar, land softly, lower into a basic squat and jump back
c. Hanging Knee Crunches: Hang from the monkey bars, bend
your knees, then crunch your abs and tuck your knees up toward your
d. High to Low Donkey Kick: Stand right under the monkey
bars, reach down and touch the grass while kicking your right leg straight
back, then come up, grab the monkey bars and kick right leg out front,
high as you can. Do right leg 30 seconds, then left leg 30 seconds.
3. Grassy area
a. Side Shuffles: Shuffle to the right 4 times, then shuffle left
b. Walking Lunges: Take a giant step forward with your right
leg, drop down to a lunge (until front knee is bent to 90 degrees, knee
stays above the ankle), push up then lunge forward with left leg… and keep
lunging right, left.
c. Crab Walks: Yep, this is that one where you get down on all
fours, reversed though, facing up. TheBun you walk backward, arm, arm,
d. Plank Walks: Get down in a plank, face down,balancing on
hands and toes. Belly in and hips lifted so your body is a straight diagonal
line. You can hold the position, or you can walk it slowly forward, arm,
arm, leg, leg.
4. Tubing and trees/poles
a. Fast Arm Rows: Wrap your tube around a tree or pole.
Slightly bend your knees, back away to increase tension on the band, then
quickly scissor/row your arms.
b. Chest Fly: Turn your body away from the pole, extend your
arms straight out to the sides and bring them together in front of your
c. Resisted Running: Keep your body in the same position
(tube around the pole, you are facing away), simply tuck the handles under
your arms and try, try, try to run forward…
d. Bicep Curls: Turn to face the pole, raise your arms to
shoulder level, palms up, arms straight. Keep elbows up (at shoulder level)
and curl inward, bringing palms toward shoulders. Slowly lower.
a. Ball Slams: Find cement, a wall, or try the grass. Throw the
ball to the ground, if it bounces, jump up and catch it in the air, land in a
squat. If it doesn’t bounce, squat down, pick it up then jump squat.
b. Push up Rollers: Place one hand on the ball and one hand in
the grass, in a push up position. Do a push up, balancing the one arm on
the ball, then roll the ball to the other hand and do another pushup.
c. Burpee toss: Yay! Burpees! Hold the ball, drop down put it
on the grass (1), pop out to plank (2) hands on grass, jump in (grab the
ball), jump up (4). Repeat J
d. V crunch toss: get a ball (any kind is fine) and a partner.
Lie down in the grass on your back and hold the ball in front of your chest.
Do a sit up and toss the ball to your partner.
If you are not sure how to do any of the exercises, please consult a
personal trainer for a live demo/visual demonstration. A one-hour
consultation will give you safe exercises that will help you get stronger…
for the rest of your life!