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Have Some Fun with a Playground Workout

Most fitness lovers experience their first real workout early in life on what could be considered a kid-size gym: the playground. And even though moms-to-be might think their days of monkey bars and swing sets are over, playground workouts can be effective and efficient ways to stay in shape.

Flyaroo Fitness, the first nationwide preschool fitness certification program designed specifically for kids, agrees. Created by cofounders Ethel Baumberg and Ashley Spicer, the method—based on elements of yoga, dance and bootcamps—was created to get little ones moving. (Physical education classes are currently not required in private or public preschools.) But the partners soon discovered that once parents saw their kids getting excited about fitness, they wanted in on the act, too.

The result? Healthy families that prioritize movement, play and adventure. “Kids want to be active, but they want structure,” says Baumberg. (If we’re honest, the same could be said of many adults, too.) Based in northern New Jersey, Flyaroo is taught in the likes of preschools, summer camps, community centers, gyms and fitness studios; parents, teachers and fitness enthusiasts get certified regularly. Each class is themed (a trip to the zoo or to the beach) and exercises take on fun new names to make them more interesting for, say, a four-year-old: a jump squat becomes a leap frog, planks are caterpillars, toe taps become soccer taps.

The Power of Play

While Baumberg and Spicer are kid-fitness specialists, they are also experts at creating workout opportunities (think lots of body weight exercises) for parents and parents-to-be on the playground. Whether you are pregnant or a new mom, break a session into circuits, aiming for three sets of 10 repetitions of each exercise, and get creative. Baumberg suggests the following:

  • Incline and decline push-ups on a bench or on an elevated surface of a jungle gym.
  • Tricep dips on a bench.
  • Single-leg squats with the back leg resting on a swing or on the edge of a slide.
  • Knee tucks on a swing. (Get into a high plank position with legs straight and both feet resting on a swing. Tuck your knees in toward your arms and return to the starting position. Repeat.)
  • Knee lifts while hanging from monkey bars.
  • Step-ups on a bench or on an elevated surface of a jungle gym.

For moms-to-be in particular, setting an example early—and having fun while doing it—can be a pretty powerful way to start life as a new parent. “What’s better,” says Baumberg, “than a child being born into a fit, healthy family?”


As always, check with your health care professional before starting a new workout.

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