It is HOT in Toronto this week. Actually, I hear that it is pretty hot everywhere this week. I’ve been teaching our outdoor Belly Bootcamp classes and trying to stay as cool as possible, but I am on a weight loss mission and lolling around in front of the air conditioner is not exactly a workout. One of the ways I am meeting my fitness goals and keeping my metabolism high is by hitting the local playgrounds for my kids as many days per week as possible. I recently wrote a blog about the ways I encourage my kids to be fit and active, and we play together at the park when we go. Sometimes they ditch me for the neighbourhood kids but often we can be found doing impromptu obstacle courses, log rolling down the hill, playing tag, kicking a soccer ball and even – last week – doing the first cartwheels I think I’ve done in 15 years. Surprise! I can still do a cartwheel!
The truth is, effective workouts are very important to your fitness – it’s important to do things which challenge you in order to force the body to adapt by becoming stronger, faster, leaner and more agile. But you can only burn so many calories in a workout. What really helps to up the metabolism and help you stay lean and toned is daily activity. I mean, the walking to the grocery store, walking the dog and taking your kids to the playground kind of activity. Sneak out for a 20-minute run and you might burn 150-200 calories. Can’t get away from the kids? You can burn that same 150-200 calories just walking and playing – casually, even, not strenuously – at the park with your kids for an hour. Win-win for you AND your little ones.
I’ve been using the Heart & Stroke Foundation’s Healthy Weight Action Plan to help me monitor my weight and lean down, now that I am definitely. positively. not. having. any. more. babies. Within the HWAP you can set mini goals for yourself (might I suggest: “Take my kids to the playground 3 times per week.”) that will help advance you toward your ultimate weight goal, whether that’s a weight loss or maintenance. HWAP helps you to monitor your weight in a manner that is less diet, more lifestyle.
I’m just 10 days from the end of my 6-month weight-loss experiment with the Healthy Weight Action Plan and – let me tell you – I am hitting that playground every chance I get!
So, when I heard from the amazing people at KaBOOM! about their Summer Playground Challenge, I got involved right away! KaBOOM! is a nonprofit organization with a vision of a playground within walking distance of every child. These fitness superheroes have created an app called Tag! and opened a contest called The Playground Challenge – finally, an excuse to use your smartphone at the park!
From KaBOOM! — The Playground Challenge gives families a chance to play together, be active, explore their communities, and meet new neighbors. As they map the playgrounds they visit, they help other parents in their community identify great places to play. They also help us at KaBOOM! identify “play deserts” – that is, the areas where more playgrounds need to be built. This is a crucial first step in working toward our vision of a playground within walking distance of every child.
So download the Tag! app now – it’s FREE – and haul those kids off to the park. Challengers will track and share their adventures using the Tag! Each playground you share will be recorded on our Map of Play — and enter you to win biweekly prizes.
Sign up and learn more here: http://kaboom.org/challenge
Burn more calories, enjoy some adventures with your kids AND contribute to a great cause! By mapping playgrounds across the country, we parents can help KaBOOM! determine where playgrounds need to be built.
Not to mention… you can win prizes! Starting on July 3, each playground you visit will earn you points and badges toward one of three Grand Prizes. Plus, every other week, receive a “mini challenge” for a chance to earn prizes as you go. When the Challenge closes on August 13,the three top point and badge earners will each win a week-long trip for two to Washington, DC.
I hope to see you at the park!