I live directly across the street from an elementary school in the western suburbs of Chicago. And like most elementary schools around this nation this one has a playground where the kids congregate before and after school, during recess, and on the weekends. And like most playgrounds, this one has a couple of four station swing sets on which the kids love to swing back and forth, again and again.
Now the interesting thing to a childhood obesity prevention enthusiast like myself is that with a few bucks (under $20) and a little know how, any swing set in the nation (playground or backyard) can easily be transformed into a childhood obesity prevention machine that really works, and I’ll prove it to you. Here’s what you’ll need in order to produce this minor miracle.
o Measure the distance between the chains on which one swing is supported.(in my own case it’s 24 inches)
o Buy one piece of one inch pipe, that’s strong enough for kids to hang on, and have it cut to a length that’s four inches longer than the distance between the chains to which one swing is attached (in my case that’s 28 inches).
o Buy two one quarter inch eye-bolts that are an inch and a half long.
o Buy two strong snap hooks
o Buy two one inch rubber stops like you’d put on the bottom of kitchen chairs to stop them from slipping or scratching the floor.
o Finally you’ll need an electric drill with a one quarter inch bit.
Now let’s take these parts and construct the machine that we mentioned earlier. Follow these simple steps and it should take you about ten minutes to complete.
Step one – Drill two quarter inch holes in the pipe that are parallel to each other. Locate them at either end of the pipe, and place them at a distance that is exactly the same as the distance between the chains on your swing set.
Step two – Place one rubber stop on each end of the pipe…a safety feature.
Step three – Place one eyebolt into each hole that you’ve drilled in the pipe, place a washer on the bottom, and then tighten the nut on the bottom of each eye-bolt tightly.
Step four – Snap one snap hook into the eye of each eye-bolt.
Step five – Detach the swing from the chains on the swing set, leaving the chains hanging by themselves (with no seat) from the support beam.
Step six – Mount your new, home made bar at any height you choose by snapping one snap hook into one of the swing set chains, and the other snap hook into the other chain.
A Height Adjustable Pull Up Bar
What you’ll have now is something that you’ll be tempted to call a trapeze. But there’s one very important difference. The new device is height adjustable so you can raise and lower it in very small (one inch?) increments up and down the chain. We’ll call this device a “Height Adjustable Pull Up Bar,” or HAPUB for short.
Childhood Obesity Prevention?
About now you’re probably wondering what in the world all this has to do with preventing childhood obesity? So let me answer that question right now by saying it probably won’t surprise you to learn that kids who can do pull ups are NEVER OBESE. Furthermore if they learn to do pull ups, and they eat and exercise in such a way that they maintain the ability to do pull ups, kids are immunized against obesity for life.
Naturally Immunized Against Obesity for Life
On the other hand, it may surprise you to know that with a HAPUB like the one you’ve just built, and a technique called Leg Assisted Pull Ups (where kids are allowed to jump and pull at the same time), most kids can learn to do conventional pull ups in a predictable amount of time – say one school year.
Now let’s add that if these two observations are true, then it logically follows that MOST KIDS CAN NATURALLY IMMUNIZE THEMSELVES AGAINST OBESITY FOR LIFE BY LEARNING AND MAINTAINING THE ABILITY TO DO PULL UPS.
In other words, for less than $20 dollars you now have the simple tool you need to help your own kids in your own family or classroom, learn to physically pull their own weight. And once they’ve mastered pull ups, all they have to do is test themselves once a week (for 10 – 20 seconds) and as long as they can still do at least one conventional pull up they cannot possibly be obese.
Performance Yields Natural Feedback
If their performance improves, they’re naturally getting leaner. If they’re performance deteriorates, they’d best adjust their exercise levels upward and their calorie intake downward. With such a simple reference obesity can’t sneak up on anyone.
On Into Adulthood
As the kids reach adulthood, the golden rule of OPYOW remains intact. It doesn’t change at all. Humans who can physically pull their own weight cannot be obese. In other words, by simply learning and maintaining the ability to do pull ups, kids are in effect, naturally immunizing themselves against obesity for life. No exceptions.
There’s No Time Like the Present
And it’s cheap. Any school or park district, or Boys and Girls Club, etc. in the nation can afford to do this. It works and there are no more excuses for allowing our kids to succumb to the conditions that undermine their health and well being…not to mention their self confidence. The time to act is NOW.