A little ‘Old School’ in your workout

Posted: October 28, 2010 in Sport
Tags: , , , ,

By Odette Kemp

Before the advent of Xbox and Playstation, children grew up with regular television games, such as Tetris and Mario Brothers. While DVDs and Blu-Ray are now taking over the market, it used to be dominated with video cassettes. In the same way, high-priced gym equipment has replaced the simple, old-fashioned forms of exercise.

Of course, each workout machine at the local gym has some special function designed for specific needs. One machine is for exercising your legs, while another will tone the muscles in your abdomen. The only problem is, whether you visit the gym or buy the equipment for home use, it is more often than not, quite pricey.

Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem. All it costs is a quick trip down memory lane. With the help of some childhood toys, you’ll be ready to get back into shape in no time.

The Hula Hoop:

Though many are unaware of it, hula hooping dates back to ancient Egypt. Nowadays, it is a simple but effective form of cardiovascular exercise. The hoops used for these workouts are slightly larger than the children’s hula hoops, and customized for exercising purposes. However, the added weight makes it easier to use than normal hula hoops.

The benefit of working out with a hula hoop is that it increases your coordination and boosts energy levels. It also exercises your entire body, and it can be used in different ways if you want to focus on a particular area.


Place one foot in front of the other and shift your weight between your two feet, to move the hoop. This is easier than trying to move your hips in a circle. If you don’t have the time for an extended workout, this exercise will be sufficient as it exercises your whole body. It especially tightens your stomach muscles and burns fat in the waist area. You can do the same exercise around your hips instead of your waist.


Stretch your arm to the side and use it to swing the hoop in a circle. This motion helps burn body fat. You can do similar exercises with your legs, but it is best to lie on the floor for those exercises.

The Jump Rope:

Cheap and relatively simple to find, the jump rope has become quite useful as an exercise tool. If you intend to use a jump rope, make sure the handles are comfortable for your hands, and that the rope is the right length. The middle of the rope should be at the back of your ankles when you are holding the rope. An important thing to remember is that jumping rope can be a strenuous workout. Take breaks between each set, and make sure your sets aren’t longer than 25 jumps each. Do your jump rope exercises on a wooden or carpeted floor, or place an exercise mat on a concrete floor.

The basic jump is performed by swinging the rope over your head and skipping over it, in a forward motion, while keeping your feet together. Do not try any of the other routines until you are comfortable with the basic jump.

Once you master the basic jump, you can substitute it with the reverse jump, swinging the rope backwards instead of forwards. Another variation is the jogging-step jump, which is similar to the basic jump, except that you keep your feet apart and jump as if you are jogging.

The Playground:

Tina Vindum, owner of a California gymnasium, has some advice on easy exercises. In an article in Parents magazine, she explained some simple workouts that can be done in a children’s playground or park.


When on the swing, lean back at an angle of about 45 degrees. Point your toes in the air in front of you, with your feet together and your legs straight. This is the starting position.

For the workout, move your feet apart until your legs form a V. Cross your legs at the calves for one count, keeping the swing as still as possible. Switch back to the V position, and then cross your legs again, with the other leg on top. Repeat this 12 to 15 times for an effective workout. The “swing crisscross” helps tone the abdominal muscles.


If you want an exercise that focuses on the back and biceps, this will be very useful. Find a bar on the jungle gym that is 3 to 4 feet above the ground. Place your hands on the bar, shoulder-width apart. Slide your legs forward until your chest is under the bar. Make sure your feet are hip-width apart.

Now, pull yourself towards the bar, by bending your arms alongside your ribs. Straighten your arms. Perform this pull-up 5 times, at least when you start working out. Aim to do more each time, and work your way up to 12 to 15 sets.


Find a part of the jungle gym that is structured like a ladder, and leaning at an angle. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on a bar that is lower than your chest height. Lean forward, keeping your body straight and resting your weight on your toes. Bend your arms as if doing a regular push-up, then straighten them again. Do 12 to 15 sets.

With these exercises, you can become lean without your wallet doing the same. Not only that, but you have the chance to revisit your childhood, and have fun while getting fit. All in all, this is one reunion that should be worth it.


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