Losing Weight Is Child’s Play, According to New Research

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Forget running, walking and other traditional exercises for losing weight — if you want to get in shape you should go back to the playground, according to new research.

Old school works-out like star jumps, hopscotch and skipping burn more calories and use more muscles than the nation’s favourite ways to work out.

Experts claim those wanting to drop dress-sizes would be better off skipping for 15 minutes to lose 215 calories, rather than running for the same amount of time, which uses just 150 calories.

Similarly, those that enjoy a brisk walk would only lose an average of 50 calories in quarter of an hour, but could expect to shed 135 calories by doing star-jumps for 15 minutes.

And a few minutes of hopscotch will see Brits lose 88 calories, while an enjoyable game of tag would wave goodbye to 115 calories.

Kate Toland, Head of Marketing at Fitness First says: “The question is, are you as fit as a six year old?

“While it might sound like child’s play, this kind of exercise is not for the faint hearted. Functional training challenges your body in a new way every time, promising significant calorie burn – and its great fun!

“We applaud and encourage people to take any kind of exercise. But for those looking for the extra edge, we have brought this new school of thinking to life in our clubs which all boast giant playgrounds for adults called ‘Freestyle’ areas.

“Here you’ll see members doing everything from skipping and interval training, to using trampolines and throwing balls.”

Researchers found that bouncing on the trampoline with the children can see the average adult lose an incredible 100 calories in quarter of an hour.

Even a game of catch, something which doesn’t seem particularly energetic during play, can help Brits shed 120 calories over the course of one hour.

And riding a bike – something enjoyed by youngsters from an early age – will mean adults can lose an impressive 190 calories in just 15 minutes, or 740 in one hour.

Even A-list celebrities are going back to their school days by using playground games to keep fit – with Beyonce and Michelle Obama hoola-hooping to stay slim, while Kate Hudson and Justin Bieber regularly skip.

But Fitness First experts wanted to put the ‘playground games’ to the test by pitching a 6-year-old boy – Alec Apostu – against manager Andy McTaggart, 31 in a series of intense children’s exercises.

Andy McTaggart comments: “Alec was tough competition, imitating his movements was a serious workout! The thing that struck me was the level of energy he displayed and the constant changing of activity was a challenge.

“As adults we tend to stick to either cardio, or weight training… but we’re missing out! With jogging for example, there’s very little Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), which means you don’t burn as many calories afterwards.

“One of the biggest lessons we can take from the way the kids play is that they move in bursts. They accelerate quickly in one direction, change direction, slow down, stop and then speed up again. This is what we can interval training, and it means your body and metabolism function at a higher rate of burned calories for hours and hours afterwards.

“Equally, kids use more muscle groups on the playground because they move in all direction and naturally incorporate body weight exercises in their movement – they use their full range of motion rather than just practicing that forward linear movement that you get with jogging or similar.”

Playground games Calories burned in 15 minutes

Hopscotch 88

Skipping 215

Tag 115

Star jumps 135

Hoola hooping 83

Trampolining 100

Riding a bike 190

Catch 30

To help new and existing members incorporate functional training into their lives, Fitness First Andy McTaggart has designed a short #PlaygroundWorkout, which will maximize the number of muscle groups you use and burn more calories:

Perform each exercise for 30 seconds and then rest for 30 seconds. Complete this four times for each move before moving onto the next one. This is 20 minutes of challenging and fun exercise.

1. Crawls: Start on all fours, ensuring your knees don’t touch the floor and maneuverer over a set distance as fast possible. This can be done moving forwards, backwards or even sideways. Great exercise that utilises your whole body and can be done anywhere.

If you have a training partner you can ramp up the competition by turning this exercise into a race!

2. Med ball throws: Squat with a weighted medicine ball and then straighten up, throwing the ball to a target on a wall or a person. This requires explosive power and incorporates the whole body.

3. Inverted mountain climbers: Put your hands on a box or step so you are in an elevated push up position. Drive the knees up to your chest one at a time as fast as you can.

4. Sprints: Set out an area which is long enough to allow for you to build up speed and sprint from end to end. This exercise incorporates speed, agility, power and coordination. The track that’s available at various Fitness First clubs is perfect for this.

5. Bosu bounds: Set out BOSU boxes as stepping stones, either in straight line or spaced out randomly. The aim is to jump from BOSU to BOSU as quickly as possible without falling off. This targets the lower body and improves your balance, agility and coordination.

Fitness First is encouraging people to share how they incorporate playground games into their workouts by tweeting @FitnessFirstUK with #PlaygroundWorkout.

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