Walter N. Hanscom
Physical training is too frequently considered a matter of interest only to young people, and the necessity of maintaining a proper physique by adults is, in these days of strenuous business life, rarely given proper attention, especially by those engaged in sedentary occupations, who are the ones most needing it. Gymnasium work generally means travelling quite a distance and the using up of the larger portion of an evening, with the result that it soon becomes tiresome and is eventually discarded for something more attractive. The average person in middle life is likely to be, therefore, in anything but good physical training, and unless afflicted with some noticeable ailment gives little thought to the benefits to be derived from a little regular daily athletic exercise.
The apparatus needed is not elaborate or expensive and requires no more room than can be found in the corner of many yards in the rear of residences excepting those in the crowded sections of large cities. In even these localities sections of the roofs of houses are railed in and floored for the purpose of hanging clothes, and the frames used for the clothes lines can be easily adapted for many excellent exercises.
The illustration shows a simple combination of athletic apparatus, permitting a variety of interesting movements, which can be supplemented by short distance running, making a sufficiently complete schedule as to enable those regularly following it to keep themselves in first class condition. It is well to emphasize the necessity of regularity of effort, as a few minutes daily, is of far more value than hours at irregular intervals. The great value of short distance running at moderate speed is only appreciated by those who have practised it. These facts are mentioned to show how easily one may engage in athletic training, and the writer hopes that what is here stated may influence those readers who are now doing little or nothing in this line to take up a few simple forms of exercise and the beneficial results will surely repay those doing so.
The apparatus included in the arrangement shown is that largely required to straighten the form, expand the lungs and develop the muscles of the arms, chest and back. Running will develop the muscles of the legs and abdomen, and expand the lungs, and as the distances are increased with practice, greater endurance without undue fatigue will be acquired. The setting up drill of the regular army can also be included as a part of the course to good advantage, making altogether a well rounded schedule of training.
The framework consists of two upright posts 16 ft. long, 4 x 6 in.; a cross piece at the top 8 ft. long, mortised to the posts; a ladder with one end attached to one end of the cross piece and the other resting on the ground. From the other end of the cross piece is also hung a climbing pole or rope, or both if means and space will permit. Between the posts are hung ad-j ustable flying rings, which may also have attachments permitting a trapeze to be substituted for the rings. A horizontal bar can also be attached to the sides of the posts.
All the woodwork should be nicely placed and the corners rounded off. It should be thoroughly inspected to ascertain that all points liable to cause splinters have been removed. A hand scraper will be useful in smoothing the surfaces. The bottoms of the posts should have cross frame work mortised to them, and this should be buried in the ground about two feet. All wood below the surface should be coated with a thick coat of asphaltum paint, and the earth firmly packed around it. All woodwork above ground should be given several coats of spar varnish, this being the only kind that will stand exposure to the weather.
The ladder should be of spruce and rather heavy. The climbing pole can be made from a length of 2 in. oak curtain pole, selecting one having perfectly straight grain. The fixtures for attaching the various parts of the apparatus can all be purchased of dealers in athletic apparatus, who can also furnish descriptive catalogues from which selection can be made. None other than general dimensions have been given, owing to the great variation in arrangement and sizes because of the limitations of space and means, but these suggestions and the advice of some carpenter will enable any one to put up a creditable arrangement and the subsequent pleasure and profit will more than repay them for having done so.