The YMCA Victoria have introduced some brand new play equipment for both parents and children. The equipment is designed to give the parents a workout, but also to enables a bit of parent and child bonding.
Associate Professor Kylie Hesketh, Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Deakin University, and Parents’ Voice Committee Member, said there are many benefits to bonding during exercise. “Our research shows that active parents have children who are more active,” she said.
Currently in Australia we sit too much and are moving less than we ever have. According to the Australian Health Survey 2011-2012, from the ages of 2-4 years children spend around 6 hours a day involved in physical activity, evenly matched with a 6 hours of the day of screen time. But once they start primary school, children only spend 1.5 hours a day on physical activity, with screen time increasing with age. YMCA Victoria is working to reverse this trend and they have produced some initiative play equipment set to break the traditional mould.
Now if you are a parent you will know that it isn’t really the norm to be squatting and lunging around the park after your children. However the Playnasium might be an opportunity for parents to have a purpose to exercise along with their children and still feel normal. Our communications officer, Luke trialled the equipment with his daughter at the launch event of the Playnasium on 15 January. He’s reviewed the equipment on: child enjoyment, the workout ability for the parent, the ease of use.
1st – Pull-Upsy-Daisy machine
Out of the 3 pieces of equipment made we think that the Pull-Upsy-Daisy takes the number 1 spot for child enjoyment and workout ability for the parent. The original method to use this equipment for the parent is to stand inside the bars and pull it down with your arms. However 100% of the parents we saw were using the equipment as a lat pull down or tricep pull down. The equipment feels like 10kg on a lat pull down-machine in the gym, however adding two children changes the resistance between 20-30kg pull down. If you bring your elbows closer together you can get get a deep burn in the tricep muscles.
2nd – Row Row Row Machine
This piece of equipment works by pulling the cable in a rowing action that enables the child to rock back and forward on a dolphin. It takes 1min to lock your feet and 30 seconds to get your child on the dolphin and tell them to hold on tight. As a parent you need to be careful not to pull the cord too tight as the dolphin might turn into a bucking horse. But after a minute or so you get a hang of the smooth action and is actually great fun. The thing that we also enjoyed was that you can see you child’s face and ask them if they are OK or if you want to go faster. Naturally my daughter said ‘FASTER DADDY!’
3rd – Pec-a-boo Machine
This piece of equipment came 3rd in our review. The idea for the equipment is good, you (parent) have to squeeze the two large rectangles together similar to a pec machine in the gym. It does give you a good pec workout but it isn’t a very smooth movement and takes a bit of effort to get the thing going. The child it seems only goes up down by a few inches and I found that my daughter got bored quite quickly.
All in all the equipment proved popular with parents and kids alike, and we’re hoping to see more of this equipment in parks across Australia.
Anything that gets our kids moving more gets a big tick from us!
Written by Luke Daley,
Parents Voice Communications Officer,