Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jungle Gym-Nastics: See Mom Sweat Giveaway

Every day that we are blessed with warm weather is another day I have to feed a lame excuse to my kids about why we can't head to the park yet. My top reasons so far involve mud and water, which basically means I'm not keen on yet another pile of dirty laundry (and means virtually nothing to my dirt-loving children).

I'm usually pretty hands on at the park, but age has made the swings less enjoyable (renders me dizzy) and anything that spins virtually impossible (vomit-city!). To be honest, once I plunk my butt down on a park bench it isn't long before I start thinking about the things I should be getting done at home. I love to watch my kids play, but the park bench feels like an assault on both my productivity and my sanity. So I'm hopeful that my new deck of Playground Pump cards will make park visits as much fun for me as they are for my kids this year.

A husband and wife team who work extensively in the field of health and fitness, Chris Rauchnot and Nancy Levin, created the cards as a way of "incorporating working out into your life" and to get clients "out of the gym and into the fresh air, sunlight, and sounds of nature." Sounds like a perfect fit for moms, doesn't it?

The deck includes cards that are color coded by type of exercise (warm up, upper body, lower body, abs, and stretching), each using familiar equipment found at most playgrounds--swings, parallel bars, benches, monkey bars, rings.

For those of you who don't visit the park or have kids that nap, these exercises will work great on a backyard play structure, too. Focus on upper or lower body exercises, pick out cards using only certain types of equipment, or do a little of everything for a circuit training workout.

Got any great playground or backyard workouts to share? Maybe it's just your favorite piece of equipment (monkey bars for me!) or a funny experience. To help celebrate the March 29 release of Hot (Sweaty) Mamas: Five Secrets to Life as a Fit Mom (Andrews McMeel 2011), I'll pick a winner from the comments and send off a box of Playground Pump cards next week.


  1. I teach a "Workout Wednesday" class at my daughters school for kids and their parents after school on Wednesdays. One of our favorite activities is "animal actions". I have the kids pick an animal and we do one cardio, one strength and one core/balance element that remind us of that animal. For a bear - cardio: bear walks (on all fours), strength: jump squats (roar every time), core: bicycle abs (we're biking away from the bear!).

  2. I love the monkey bars too for pull ups and also any of the raised platforms to do a stair stepper workout.

    Beth Jensen

  3. The outdoors is a giant playground for us - we do a variety of different yard games which results in a fabulous circuit workout for everyone! We set up different stations in the yard/driveway for our kids and their neighbor friends - we'll have things like an old school large jump rope (and have contests like most jumps and how many jumpers at a time), football toss/run, frog jumps over chalk drawn lines etc. It's all about getting everyone engaged and having fun - mama included!

  4. Christie- Love the idea of parents and kids coming together for fun and creative exercise!

    Beth- Pull ups are for the mighty! And don't you just love it when the kids "show you" just how easy it really is!

    The outdoor circuit work is a hoot! Just volunteered at my daughter's school today for an hour of "Pits and Alleys," which is essentially a giant obstacle course/game of tag with "off limits" areas. I was super excited when the gym teacher told me I could play! Sprinting after 8-year-olds isn't as easy as I thought it would be... those kids are quick! You can be sure I'll be using your outdoor version this summer!

  5. Just found you (not that you were lost) via mn parents mag. I am an old mom with a newer kid and I am trying to get into shape--having just signed up for my first 3k. Can't wait to read more!

  6. CMJ- Glad to see you here and congrats on becoming a mom! Running your first race is a great way to get hooked into the fit mama lifestyle! What race are you signed up for? I'll be giving a talk and selling books at the Get in Gear packet pick up/pasta feed on April 29 and would love to see you there! Remember, all the deposits you make into the fit lifestyle (no matter how big or small) will pay off in more ways than you can possibly imagine!

  7. Christie-
    You're the random winner! Shoot me a message at and I'll send you your deck of cards! Have fun!