Forget running, head to the playground to get in shape

Forget treadmills, cross-trainers and endless sit-ups - if you want to get in shape, go back to the playground, according to new research.

Old school works-out like star jumps, hopscotch and skipping actually burn more calories and use more muscles than traditional exercises.

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.

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Similarly, those who 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 the same period.

And a few minutes of hopscotch will burn 88 calories, while an enjoyable game of tag would wave goodbye to 115 calories, according to research by Fitness First.

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.

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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.

Fitness First manager Andy McTaggart said: “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.

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“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