Playgrounds and Treadmills

Today’s post is inspired by a couple of articles I read in the Wall Street Journal.

Are Playgrounds Too Safe?  It’s an interesting look at how playground equipment has become too safe thus boring for kids.  It doesn’t challenge their need to take risks and test the limits thus stunting the desire to get outside and play and experience physical activity.

A new playground in Boston includes a zip-line, a rock climbing structure, and a climbing net.  All designed to challenge kids’ physical fitness and build upper-body strength.

My experiences with school and park playgrounds involved lots of metal, woodchips, old tires, and rusty swings.  Classic playground moment was trying to copy my friends who were short, nimble, and flexible.  They could do twists, turns, and flips on the monkey bars.  Me…not so much.  I was always the tall kid.  Gymnastics are difficult for us.  But, not to be out-done, I tried all sorts of flips.  That ended with me on the ground and my mom having to rush to the playground to find out if I was ok.  I was also the kid who was on a first-name basis with the local ER staff–broken bones, a split forehead, stitches galore.

Next article is How Sick Do You Have to Be to Skip Going to the Gym?

I work hard to stay healthy and at least “control” those things that I can.  I’ve got hand sanitizer in my purse, car, work bag, and on my desk.  I wash my hands a lot.  If I feel a cold or virus coming on, I up my water and tea consumption and add in extra fruits and veggies.  But I still work out.  It takes a lot to knock me down.  An illness day might mean a light yoga workout.  There are two friends of mine who really don’t let me rest so I may get outside for a walk.

The WSJ article covers the basics that it’s still OK to work out if you’re not feeling 100%–just lower your expectations and exertion level.  If you have a fever – skip the gym/workout.  If your symptoms are below the neck, skip it.  And avoid group exercise classes – do you really want to be the person sneezing and coughing on the person in front of you at Zumba?  (Side note – I wipe down the Spin bike before and after class.)

As always, check with your doctor and take care of yourself.

What was your favorite piece of playground equipment?  What are your ideas for equipment/experiences that should be at new playgrounds?

Tips for staying healthy?  Do you work out when you’re sick?


11 responses

  1. Really interesting articles, Nicole! I hadn’t thought of the fact that playgrounds were getting too “vanilla” for kids. I remember taking risks on my elementary school playground and getting yelled at by the aides to “come down from there” and “stop hanging upside down on the high bar.” Haha. It’s a shame that some kids will never learn to step outside their comfort zone, physically, though.

  2. Just found your site. It’s wonderful!
    I LOVED the monkey bars at my grade school. I’d find a way to get out there and swing on them any chance I got, rain or shine, even on the weekends! I spent a lot of time in the principal’s office being treated for the blisters I’d get on my hands. Too young to get calluses, I guess. The playgrounds here in Europe are fabulous!! Rope climbing contraptions of various kinds, zip lines, giant ships made of wood and iron for climbing and sliding. It’s amazing to see young children who are so fearless. It helps that there’s a rubber mat beneath the climbing apparatus to absorb shock if/when the kids fall. Fun and safety rolled into one. Now, if only I as an adult could get my exercise at these playrounds 🙂

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