Another special THANKS goes out to Barbara Holland of Blackstone Studio for her illustrations in this article – they really make the exercises easy to understand! If you’re looking for a great graphic/web/blog designer or photographer, Blackstone Studio is highly recommended.

As published in the September issue of Natural Awakenings Magazine:

Several San Antonio parks have installed fitness equipment stations for citizens to enjoy. Thirty-three parks include stations for resistance training, stretching, balancing and cardio to help you get a full-body workout. While not required for the workout in the article, this equipment gives you even more outdoor variety when exercising. Each piece of equipment has a sign displaying examples of proper use.

View participating parks at Now you’ve got great incentive to join in on the playground fun!


1) Lower body – The split lunge fires up your quads, hamstrings, glutes and core. Turn your back to the lower end of a slide and place your left foot, shoelaces down, on the slide. Tighten your core and slowly bend your right knee (the one still firmly planted on the ground) until the thigh is parallel with the ground. Press through the right heel to stand up for 1 rep. Do 10-15 reps then switch legs and repeat.

Make it harder: Use a swing as the base for your raised leg to add a more intense core challenge.

2) Upper body – The swingset turns into a flab firmer for the arms, chest and shoulders when you use it to do the swing row exercise. Stand facing the swing and grab each chain a little above shoulder height. Carefully lean back and move your feet forward until your arms are at a 45 degree angle with the ground. With a slow and controlled motion, pull your body up towards your hands. Do 10-15 reps.

Make it harder: lean back further, making your body more parallel to the ground so that your arms have to ‘row’ more of your body weight.

3) Core – You’ll find that doing swing knee tucks consistently in your exercise routine will cause a tummy tuck effect! Start on all fours near a swing. With your hands on the ground directly under your shoulders, place both feet into the swing seat. Extend your legs until your body is in a straight line. Slowly bring your knees your chest then push the begs back out straight. Do 10-15 reps.

Make it harder: As you bring your knees toward your chest, try touching your left knee to your right elbow, straighten and repeat this time touching your right knee to your left elbow, alternate like this until your reps are complete.

4) Heart – Time for calorie torching intervals again, but this time you’ll be doing cardio bursts in 30 second timed sets. Ready? Start by jogging in place, but each time you raise a knee, raise it as high as you can. Now that you’ve started high knees, add the arms by punching the right arm up when the left knee raises and vice versa. It may feel a little funny, but rest assured you’re reaching maximum calorie burn with this exercise. After 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds. Repeat for a total of 5 rounds.

Repeat the above circuit once more after 2-4 minutes of rest.

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