8 Playground Workouts to Make You Feel Like a Kid Again

athletic appearance
Remember the days before you ever counted a calorie or felt bad about not going to the gym? The days when new pencils and Saturday morning cartoons made your heart race with excitement? Whether or not you were in shape was not a thought that went through your head very often, but you were probably more active back then than you ever have been. Boys and girls played sports together at recess and everyone was good enough (or bad enough) to participate.

All your youthful energy was pent up while you learned arithmetic and grammar. Once you finally reached recess, it was game on. More often than not, you were exercising— even if you didn’t think of it that way. It’s probably been a few years since you enjoyed a playground yourself, but consider taking your next workout to a public park. If you have children of your own now, think about joining them on the playground. Even if you don’t, you can rest easy knowing your kids are getting some great exercise.

Young beautiful girl city runner listening to the music and exercising with hula hoop outdoors in city park

1. Hula-Hoop

If you think about it, a hula-hoop is a serious core workout. The problem is it usually doesn’t last longer than a couple of minutes. For amateurs, it usually doesn’t even make it to a full minute. This is a fun exercise and if you want to amp up the workout aspect, compete with someone for who can hoop the longest.

Crossfit man working out pull-ups on chin-up bar. Portrait of bearded fit young man cross training arms on horizontal bars outside on outdoor gym in summer.

2. Pull Up Bar

Pull ups seemed hard to do as a kid, but they don’t feel any easier once you’re an adult. Maybe that’s why they’re such a good workout. Reaching the top bar immediately vaulted you into the cool kid category back in the day. These days doing five in a row is impressive. If you’re a pull-up pro, try doing sets of 5-7 at a time to maximize endurance.

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3. Swinging

Swinging is a cardio workout that engages your whole body. It’s not intense, so you’ll have to do it for quite a while to burn a lot of calories. On the flip side, it’s also not stressful on your joints. Since you’re just moving in mid-air, the only contact will come after your friend dupes you into jumping off early.

Muscular man working out on monkey bars at a gym

4. Monkey Bars

Similar to pull ups, monkey bars never seem to get easier. They might actually be harder for adults. Swinging from peg to peg, and hanging on throughout, works your arms and core. Keeping your legs up, to keep from dragging your feet, is an additional core exercise.

Hopscotch street game

5. Hopscotch

The duration of this workout may be shorter than others, because hopscotch is not meant for those with long attention spans. With that said, it requires coordination and balance, in addition to jumping. We could all use a little more of that in our life.

man playing kickball

6. Kickball

Soccer meets baseball in a game that everyone can play. Perhaps no sport better mingles adults and kids, because it’s impossible to not love kickball. Running the bases, chasing fly balls, and throwing the ball at your friend on his way to third base are all great exercise.

Young man and woman jumping ropes as part of their workout in a crossfit gym

7. Jump rope

This takes the cake for the best workout on our list. If it’s good enough for Rocky, it’s good enough for the rest us. Jumping rope is a killer cardio exercise that takes less time than running. Doing it individually can be fun, but group play will keep you from thinking about how much jumping you’re doing.

Four_square_court

8. Four square

A good four square rotation can last hours. This game is easy to pick up and even easier to get carried away in terms of competition. It requires coordination, ball skills, and quick lateral movements. Expect controversy over what’s in and what’s out.

About Zac Howard:

Zac Howard is a writer on The Path Editorial Team. He is a graduate of Florida State University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in magazine journalism at NYU. With his passion for lifting and dieting, Zac enjoys writing about all different kinds of exercise as well as keeping up with the latest news in the world of fitness. For more of his work, visit his website.

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About Zac Howard

Zac Howard is a writer on The Path Editorial Team. He is a graduate of Florida State University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in magazine journalism at NYU. With his passion for lifting and dieting, Zac enjoys writing about all different kinds of exercise as well as keeping up with the latest news in the world of fitness. In addition to his contributions on The Path, he is a fitness beat writer for NYU Magazine. For more of his work, visit NYUMag.com.