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5 fun and playful workout ideas (that still get results)

Bring some childhood play into your workout routine with these fun, nostalgic ideas.

Childhood: a time of grazed knees, cheap milk, guilt-free ice cream, and showbags with quality toys. Exercise wasn’t something you did but something that just happened as you went about your day. So if your grownup exercise routine is feeling like a chore you’d rather avoid, it might be time to resurrect some of your favourite childhood activities.

1. Skipping rope

With a simple length of rope (or, these days, PVC) you can burn off a chocolate bar in just 15-20 minutes. Perfectly portable, a skipping rope can be used at home or taken on holidays for an intense cardio workout on the fly. And with tricks like double-unders, criss-cross and side swings to learn, there’s plenty to keep you challenged.

2. Hula hooping

A total body workout that does wonders for your core, hula hooping will raise your heart rate while being no-impact. Start with a bigger hoop (at least up to your belly button when on its side) to build up your technique, then move onto smaller hoops when you want to up the intensity and the difficulty level.

3. Capture the flag

One for the family or a barbecue with friends. All you need is two teams, two designated zones, and two flags for stealing. The aim is to capture the other team’s flag and return it to your own zone. But be careful – if you get caught while on enemy territory, you’ll be sent to jail, and only a fellow team-member can release you. The game combines strategy with furious running for safety, so you’ll raise your heart rate without even realising you’re exercising. On a rainy day, you can play indoors.

4. Frisbee

This activity requires no time to learn, but you’ll need a willing accomplice to jump around in a park with you as you pass the Frisbee back and forth. And if you want to take it to the next level, you can start an Ultimate Frisbee team. Ultimate Frisbee is played in teams of seven with Spirit of the Game rules, meaning there’s no referee so every player is responsible for their own fair play. Check out afda.com.

5. Monkey bars

The site of many a playground mishap, monkey bars are a great place to get a back and upper body workout. And now that you’re an adult, the comparatively shorter distance to the ground means less chance you’ll be rushed to the sick bay. A hanging hand-over-hand travel across the bars will build arm, back and grip strength. You can also try hanging knee lifts to work your abs, or pull-ups to work your biceps and triceps.

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