When purchasing swings, people often overlook the benefits of a swing bar. Most people grab the hammock, platform swing and belt swings, as those are comfortable and easy to use. Yet a swing bar, which is sometimes overlooked, can add a workout and sensory integration session like no other.
There are tremendous benefits to suspending a swing bar. Your kids will love you for this toy of all toys – and so will your occupational therapist and classroom teacher. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits your swing bar can offer.
Upper Extremity Tone and Strength. A swing bar can provide one of the best workouts for upper extremity strength building. While using the bar, the individual must hold on, which will stimulate the intrinsic hand muscles, forearm and shoulder girdle to all contract. Developing these muscles can improve posture around the upper body as well as assist with many fine motor skills including handwriting. Try having your kids regrip several times while swinging.
Core Control. In addition to the upper body muscles, the core muscles (abdominal and back) will also be used to pull up and hold the core in a stable position. Kids can hang under the bar, pull over the bar, sit or stand on a bar, but those core muscles must be engaged to stay on. Try placing hands and feet on the bar at the same time while hanging underneath.
Stretch the Spine. Just hanging from a bar can stretch out the spine, reducing pressure on the vertebrae and reducing kyphosis (slouching). While stretching, kids can swing back and forth or just hang out.
Pretend Play and Mood Booster. So everyone really wants to hang on a bar. Whether you child wants to be monkey, dinosaur or circus trapeze artist, a swing bar will add to their play, while boosting endorphins and providing a general sense of euphoria. You can combine wearing costumes and playing on a swing bar for a “day at the circus” theme.
Motor Planning. So how do you get on your bar? Well that may take some motor planning skills and thinking. You can assist your child in getting started and, before you know it, he will have figured this whole monkey business thing out for himself!
Be sure to have proper matting under and around the perimeter of the bar and proper supervision as well!