Vacation Exploration

I’ve blogged before about the fun my family and I have while on vacation trying to keep play and movement in our daily routine. For anyone who has ever travelled with children, the reason for this is obvious. But it’s also beneficial for adults, who may not be able to keep to their same fitness routines while travelling.

Yesterday afternoon, my husband and I loaded the kids up in to the rental minivan and headed for the Johnny Kelley Recreation Area near my in-laws’ home on Cape Cod. The playground at this park is a favorite stop during our annual vacation here, as there are lots of playscapes for children of all ages and the nearby toilets are remarkably well-maintained. What more could a family ask for?

There is also a “life circuit” at this park, which means there are ten exercise stations arranged around a 0.6 mile trail through the wooded area of the park. My boys have decided that the life circuit is even more fun than the playground, so while my husband ran around the trails in the park, I took the kids around the exercise stations. (Divide and conquer– a key to happy parenting.)

The circuit is designed to challenge balance, agility, and strength. The stations were as simple as sit-up boards and as complex as this thing here.

(No, I have no idea what you’re supposed to get out of it– other than very very nauseous– if you stand on the bottom disc and hold on to the top one as you spin around, which is what the signpost picture indicated.)

The purpose of other stations was more obvious.

As you can see, the climbing nets were a big hit with the boys. I taught them how to climb up one side, over the top, and down the other. We then decided it would be fun to see who could go up and down all four nets the fastest.

We sprinted between stations and held our hands over our hearts to feel them pumping blood as we breathed deeply at the next station. Sometimes we did the exercises as the pictorial signposts indicated, and sometimes we changed them to suit smaller bodies– like using this balance-on-the-chain station as hand-over-hand pseudo-monkey bars.

All in all, the life course was a great warm-up for the other cardio I had planned for our outing: jumping rope. When my husband finished his run, he took over kid-watching duty so I could do jump rope intervals for 10 minutes (30 seconds jumping + 30 seconds recovery).

We were at the park just over an hour, and it was time well-spent for all of us. The adults got their exercise, the boys had a blast burning up some energy in new ways on the life circuit, and the baby spent a nice afternoon outdoors.

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