Anna M. (Anna Mary) Galbraith.

Personal hygiene and physical training for women online

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conscious swing at the hip.

The chief exertion in walking is caused by the raising
of the foot and leg to the point at which it goes forward
and downward. By any artificial shortening of the step,
such as is caused, for instance, by long skirts, it requires
much more muscular effort to walk the same distance.
Besides which, there is the additional friction of the skirts,


which is increased by the slightest wind; this has been
likened to the process of eternally walking through a field
of long grass.

Another most important reason for not wearing long
dresses on the street is that they stir up the dust and col-
lect microbes, and thus contribute materially to the dis-
semination of the germs of disease and subject the wearer
and her family to the risk of infection.

The question of clothing takes an important place in
the hygiene of the lungs. All clothing may be approved
which is sufficiently warm, and which allows of modifica-
tions according to the variations in the temperature, and
does not hinder the movements of the body, and particu-
larly those which are carried out by the respiratory muscles.
In the first place, it is very important that the muscles
about the shoulders should have perfect freedom of
motion, in order that the expansion of the apices of the
lungs should not be interfered with. Clothes which hang
heavily on the shoulders, and especially those which grasp
the neck tightly, are unsuitable. Special attention must
be given to this point in the selection of winter clothing.

In going up long flights of stairs furs and heavy top coats
should be taken off and carried over the arm; this will
prevent much shortness of breath and gasping when one
reaches the top of many flights.

The Winter Street Dress. — The street dress for winter
should be warm enough to prevent a feeling of chilliness,
and yet be light enough to prevent the wearer from be-
coming overheated while walking, or from feeling a sense
of weight of the clothing, which is always a sign of being
too warmly clad.

For outside coats impregnated woolen materials, water-
proof, but at the same time porous, are the best, except
in very heavy rains. A storm coat of some kind should
complete the costume for rain or snow. The woman
should never stay indoors on account of very cold or in-
clement weather, as being housed up and the lack of suffi-
cient exercise make one very susceptible to the very sud-
den changes for which our climate is so notable.



The Ancient Greeks the Most Perfect Type of Beauty; the Cause
of the Inferior Physique of American Women; the Physical Training
of the Japanese Women; Improved Physique as the Result of
Physical Training; Increasing Stature and Improved Physique
of American Men; Report of the Royal Commission of Great Britain
on Physical Training; Physical Training Among the Ancients; the
Influence of Physical Training on the Health and Life of the Indi-
vidual; the Effect of Exercise on Brain Development and Character;
the Physiology and Pathology of Exercise; the Relative Proportions
of a Perfect Female Form; Table of Standard Weights for Women;
the Muscular System; the Benefits of Exercise; Passive Exercise;
Massage; the Balance and Carriage of the Body; Co mm on Defects in
the Carriage of the Body; the Heart's Need of Exercise; the Gym-
nasium in the Campaign against Disease; Gymnastic versus Ath-
letic Training; Exercise after Eating; Effect of Brain Fatigue on
Body Fatigue, and vice versa; Marks for Physical Efficiency;
Advantages Derived from Athletic Sports; Ethical Value of Sports
for Women; Forms of Athletic Games Best Suited to Women.

Physical training is the key to aU beauty of form and
face as weU as grace of motion. Beauty without health
is inconceivable.

The Greeks were the devotees of the beautiful, and
they were the most perfect embodiments of health and
beauty the world has ever seen. Their splendid physique
was due to their outdoor life, physical training, which
began in childhood and youth, and was systematically
carried on throughout Hfe, their public baths, and their
athletics, sports and national games. Beauty is the in-
evitable corollary of health.

And the Greek artists bequeathed to all future genera-
tions a legacy of untold value, using the men and women
of the golden age of Greece as the prototypes for the most



beautiful statues which the world has ever seen, proving
that through the perfect development of the muscular
system alone can an ideal type of beauty be attained, and
these statues also show that the women of that day were
the physical compeers of the men.

The greatest attention to the physical development of
her citizens was given in Sparta. Girls and young women
were subjected to a similar, though less severe, training
than men and boys. It included running, leaping, wrest-
ling, and throwing the lance; these formed the favorite
contests in the national games. Xenophen says: "The
Spartans are the healthiest of all the Greeks, and among
them are found the finest men and the handsomest women
in Greece." The women of the Teutonic tribes frequently
accompanied their husbands to war, and exhibited in-
tances of the most daring bravery.

History, as well as these magnificent legacies in marble
and on canvas, teaches us that no greater fallacy could be
imagined than that "we are women, and therefore weak."
On the contrary, " We are weak, because it never entered
into our thoughts that we might be strong/' and it has
been repeatedly proved that physical deterioration can be
overcome by exercise, and that the same means greatly
increases the mental capacity.

In savage races women are the equal, if not the su-
perior, of the men, and woman's smallness of stature,
physical inferiority, and lessened powers of endurance
must be attributed to the customs of civilized society
carried on for hundreds of years.

The Cause of the Inferior Physique of American
Women. — The majority of American girls and women of
the present day have undeveloped muscles, a bad carriage,
an impaired digestion, and are without skill in outdoor
games, and unable to ride, row, or swim.

From the measurements of twelve hundred boys and
girls. Professor Sargent ascertained that at the age of
fifteen years boys are three-quarters of an inch taller than
girls, but that the mean height in the two sexes is the same,


and that, taking the sum of the measurements of the head,
chest, waist, legs, and arms, the mean total was equal in
boys and girls. The sum of these measurements is regarded
as indicative of the strength of the individual, but that, as
a matter of fact, it was found that the girls did not com-
pare favorably with the boys in point of strength. In
capacity of lungs the girls were seventy cubic inches be-
hind the boys, and that, in strength of the expiratory
muscles, the weakest boy was stronger than the average
girl. In strength of back, leg, chest, and arms, the show-
ing of the girls was a little better, though considerably
below what it should have been.

At twenty years of age the man was found to be five
inches taUer and twenty pounds heavier. The superiority
of the male in strength was now much more apparent than
at an earlier age. He now presented ninety cubic inches
greater lung capacity and one hundred and forty-three
pounds, greater strength of legs, while the muscular power
of the arms and chest was more than double that of
woman. The charts showed that women were physically
inferior to men in almost every particular.

Dr. Sargent then goes on to say, "The principal char-
acteristics of general form that distinguish civilized women
from men are smaller muscles, sloping shoulders, broader
hips, and shorter legs. The smaller muscles and the
shorter legs may be said to be embryonic, while the super-
ior breadth of the hips indicates a greater evolutionary
advancement in this part of the body than has taken place
in man. The constricted waist must be regarded as a
deformity artificially produced. When the hips are large
in the male or female, the waist wiU naturally be larger if
the muscles which connect the trunk with the pelvis have
nothing to constrict them. Since the hips of women are
much wider than those of men, we should expect to find the
waist proportionately larger in women than in men.

In close antithesis to these observations of Dr. Sargent's
on the physical inferiority of American women to men,
it is both interesting and instructive to note those of Dr.


Hancock in his work on ''Physical Training for Women
by Japanese Methods."

The Physical Training of the Japanese Women. —

A Japanese woman is usually the peer of a man of her own
race who is of the same age and height, especially when
weights are about equal. This is due to the fact that the
Japanese women exercise in much the same way that the
men do, and devote fully as much time in the endeavor
to gain strength.

In the Japanese system of bodily training, known as
jiu-jitsu, it is considered advisable in the initial stages to
have boy and girl contestants as nearly equal in age and
height as possible. The girls enter the arena upon equal
terms with the boys, and have proved their fitness to do so.
Grown men and women practise together; other conditions
being equal, the women show an equal amount of strength
with the men.

The back of the average Anglo-Saxon woman is gener-
ally the weakest part of her body, while the normal Jap-
anese woman satisfies the artist's ideals as well as the
surgeon's. The average Japanese woman of to-day shows
a figure as perfectly molded, and of as true proportions,
as the women of ancient Greece were able to display.

First of all, the Japanese women are taught that life
is impossible without a sufiicient supply of fresh air.
This internal cleansing with air is deemed of more impor-
tance than the bath which follows soon after. That the
Japanese woman is a deep breather is shown by the firm
muscles that stand out on the abdomen.

Consumption is a rare disease in Japan; even winter
coughs are of rare occurrence. The Japanese look upon
full, deep breathing as being the most vital function in
life; food is not so important, although it is necessary.
The best exercises are of little importance when the breath-
ing which accompanies them is not properly done.

Improved Physique as the Result of Physical Train-
ing. — Dr. Mary Taylor Bissell, formerly the medical
director of the New York Berkeley Ladies Athletic Glub,


and one of the pioneers in the systematic physical training
for women, gave as the result of her experience there,
"The gain of twelve months' exercise in the gymnasium
is, for the chest two inches, stature two inches, and an in-
crease of 30 per cent, in the lung capacity; many of the
strength tests were doubled, the spine became erect and
the arm vigorous, and the girl gained for herself the con-
sciousness of controlling her own body instead of having
it control her."

Increasing Stature and Improved Physique of
American Men. — Dr. Born's measurements of Yale
athletes and students suggest the inference that American
men are becoming physically greater than any other known
race. Comparing averages in 1903 and 1908, it appears
that Yale men are one inch and a half taller than their
predecessors of five years ago; they are twenty-seven
pounds heavier, broader chested, and have an increased
lung capacity of seventy-two cubic inches.

The measurements of Harvard students, published last
fall by Dr. Sargent, corroborate Dr. Born's deductions,
that American college men have larger and more vigorous
bodies than their fathers.

Dr. Sargent's association of vigorous brains with strong
bodies is borne out by Professor W. T. Porter's examina-
tion of 30,000 school-children in St. Louis in 1893, and by
subsequent observations made by other men.

It is the opinion of Dr. Crampton, director of physical
training in the New York city schools, that this improved
physique in American men, observed in the universities,
is not in a small measure due to the fact that within the last
five years athletics have been introduced into the pubfic
schools, so that there are now hundreds of teams of base-
ball, football, basket-ball, and track athletics, where there
was only one before, so that already the colleges are re-
porting that the young men entering them are bigger than
they were ten years ago.

Professor Phillips of Amherst thinks that the young
women are certainly one inch taller and five pounds heavier


than they were ten years ago. This improved physique
of Americans he attributes, like Dr. Crampton, to the fact
that the American boy has now come in for his heritage of
athletic sports, and he makes a strong plea for "adult
play" — that every man and woman should have as good
an opportunity as boys and girls to get out on an open
space and play baseball, football, hockey, run, jump, and
have a good time.

To show the importance which Great Britain places
on physical training for boys and girls the following
report of the Royal Commission of that country for 1903
is given under the caption " A National System of Physical

Report of Royal Commission of Great Britain on
Physical Training. — " (1) Physical training should be
regarded as of equal importance with mental training.

" (2) During school life physical training is quite as
important for girls as for boys.

" (3) Systematic physical training is necessary both for
country and town children.

''The daily walk to school is exercise, but not exercise
which develops the body as a whole, or counteracts
the hability to stoop, to be round-shouldered, or to be
slovenly in gait. Moreover, all children during school
life must spend many hours with but little change of
position, the effects of which can only be corrected by
systematic physical exercise.

" It should aim at the healthy development of the body,
as well as of the mind, by the regular development of all
the muscles, the quickening of the intelligence and
activity, and the formation of the habits of prompt
obedience, precision, smartness, and discipline. The
exercises should not be for mere display or entertain-
ment, but each should have its particular purpose and
value to develop all parts of the body.

''A certain amount of physical exercise once a day or
oftener is preferable to even a greater amount, at longer
or irregular intervals.


"Games are very useful and ought to be encouraged,
but they cannot be played by all children, and usually
the weaker ones go to the wall ; that is, those most needing
systematic development are excluded. Games affording
opportunities for violent exercise are useful for the
development of reserve strength, and form an admirable
field for the cultivation of social and public spirit. We
strongly favor their organization and development at all

"For boys, in addition to the regular games, country
runs, leaping and dancing the Highland Fling; for girls,
skipping and hockey. For both, swimming is strongly

Physical Training Among the Ancients. — Greek
culture regarded the individual as valuable in and for
himself, and sought to promote first of all his full and
free development. The idea was symmetry and balance
of parts, and, to attain complete and harmonious man-
hood, mind and body were trained together.

Games played an important part in the life of the
Athenians, and their importance in the education of
children was early recogTiized.

From the age of seven to sixteen it is probable that
one-half of the day of the Athenian boy was spent in
intellectual and the other half in physical education.
The aim of the Athenian education was to produce men,
independent but respectful, freedom loving but law
abiding, healthy in mind and body, clear in thought,
ready in action, and devoted to their families, their
fatherland, and their gods.

Gymnastics included everything reb,ting to the culture
of the body.

The cu lmi nation of the Athenian education was danc-
ing. As a supplement to gymnastic culture, it toned
down the ardent exercise of the gymnasium and the over-
energy of muscular development to the ease and grace
which was the Athenian ideal.

The Romans. — The early Romans possessed some traits


in common with the Spartans. They were intensely prac-
tical and interested in those things whose usefulness was
apparent. Education should fit a man for his work in
the world.

A Roman structure, quite as characteristic as the Greek
gymnasium, was the public bath or therma, found not
only in Rome, but in every important provincial town
in the days of the empire. Both made provision for
exercise and contained a system of baths, but in the
thermae the baths occupied the greater part of the space,
and the rooms and courts for exercise were smaller and

The Influence of Physical Training on the Health
and Life of the Individual. — If we believe, with Spencer,
that "Education is preparation for complete living,"
we must appreciate that good carriage, bodily control,
physical judgment, will power, and courage are an im-
portant part of the equipment of every man and woman.
These qualities are intimately associated with motor
coordination, and they are best developed through
physical training.

The power of self-preservation, by which the individual
is enabled to handle his body easily under all conditions,
and so escape physical injury and death, depends upon
physical judgment of time and distance, and the ability
to run, jump, vault, climb, and swim. These are all
fundamental exercises.

The love of play and the ability to play a number of
games contribute very largely to health and happiness.
The play habit must be acquired in youth or it will never
be developed.

The best qualities of mind and character can only be
obtained through physical experience and physical
struggle. With stalwart physique comes a vigorous
type of womanhood, physical courage ; with flabby muscles
there is apt to result flabby thinking and flabby acting,
superficiality, and inefiiciency. Next to hunger the most
dominant instinct is the play instinct.


The Effect of Exercise on Brain Development and
Character. — The growing interest in preventive medicine,
and the very great popularity of the opportunities afforded
for athletic training, attest to the value which people
are beginning to place upon health as an asset in their
social, domestic, business, and professional lives.

But it is not generally or sufficiently understood just
how great is the effect of physical training on the develop-
ment of the brain or upon the mental activities. With
a strong, vigorous action of the heart there is a feeling of
courage and general exaltation, whereas with a weak
heart and enfeebled circulation, fear and impaired mental
activity predominate.

The manner in which the organic functions are per-
formed not only determine the health of the body, but the
temperament and character as well. There is a conserva-
tion of energy in the fashioning of the will — only part
of the energy is expended in the outward effort, while
the rest goes to lay the foundation of a future will, so that
exercise builds up faculty and conduct character.

We cannot perform an act voluntarily unless we know
what we are going to do, and we cannot know exactly
what we are going to do until we have learned to do it.
The very simplest movement brings about a change
in the organic structure of the brain, and this change
leads to more complex movements and further improve-
ment in brain structure. Most skilled movements give
more exercise to the central nervous system than to the
muscles. Movements calling for a high degree of skill,
correlation of the different senses, sense discrimination,
fine coordinations, and a rapid and responsible exercise
of judgment, all tend, through the action of the association
fibers, to a high degree of brain development.

An essential feature of exercise is that a part of it at
least shall afford amusement, diversion, and recreation
to the overwearied and harassed brain. Hence, the
necessity to introduce dancing, field sports, etc. By
these means industrial efficiency, communal morality,


and social consciousness are promoted. Public amuse-
ments of a proper sort are a public necessity.

The great menace to the city is the limited opportunities
for healthful play, and over one-third of the population
of the United States live in towns. The physical side of
the question is the largest, for it involves health, and
consequently poise and self-control. It involves a legiti-
mate occupation of surplus energy and its wise direction,
and it also involves companionship.

The great object of physical training is then to secure
the most perfect development of the body, with the
corresponding development of the brain, so that the
highest physical and mental efficiency of the individual
may be attained.

The possession of a large reserve of muscle and nerve
force, ready to be used in any emergency, gives confidence
to the individual, increases the spirit of taking the initia-
tive and undertaking grave responsibilities that come
into the life of everj^ woman, especially those who are
engaged in the business or professional world, and the
building up of this necessary reserve force is one of the
inestimable advantages of a gymnastic and athletic

The Physiology and Pathology of Exercise. — Exer-
cise is divided into active or voluntary and passive.

Passive exercise does not require any exertion of the
will power. Massage increases the local nutrition of the
parts, stimulates the nerves, and is restful, rather than
exhausting, to the overwrought brain and wearied nerves.
' Active exercise is further divided into exercise of
effort and exercise of endurance. Under exercise of
effort are classed all gymnastic feats. The primary object
of a gymnastic training or education is to produce a
symmetric development of the entire body, while, on
the other hand, the training necessary to execute gym-
nastic feats produces an overdevelopment of one part
of the body at the expense of the rest, as is seen in the arm
of the blacksmith and the leg of the danseuse. All


exercises of effort, whether of strength, skill, or speed,
demand and cultivate mental concentration, a rapid
response of the muscle to the orders of the will, develop
the power to accomplish complicated coordinations,
and the knowledge of how these difficult movements
may be performed with the least expenditure of nerve and
muscle force. Exercising a muscle develops it up to its
physiologic capacity, but if a muscle is habitually over-
worked, pathologic results occur, and instead of a quick,
sharp contraction of the muscle, the contractions will be
weak and uncertain, and, if carried too far, the muscle
may eventually atrophy from overwork.

Exercises of endurance include walking, running, swim-
ming, and rowing — the range of^movement in these is much
more hmited than in exercises of effort. In these, each
movement is well within the individual's powers, yet, by
increasing the rapidity of the movements, or by their
prolonged continuance, the total amount of muscular
work accomplished may be very great. Normally, the
contraction and relaxation of the muscles are compara-
tively slow, so that the poisonous waste matter produc-
ing fatigue is continually being removed from the tissues,
and not allowed to accumulate; whereas, in exercises
of effort, there is no time allowed for the scavengers
to work, and fatigue of the most active muscles sets in

Fatigue may appear in several forms, depending on the
character of the exercise which produced it. When the
exercise is sufficiently active, the amount of waste matter
thrown into the circulation is greater than can be ehmin-
ated by the lungs; breathlessness and palpitation of the
heart result; so soon as the equilibrium between waste
production and elimination is estabhshed, the individual
is said to have gotten his second wind. Or, again, a slow
pace, too long kept up, will produce exhaustion, so that the
products of tissue waste accumulate, the beat of the heart

Online LibraryAnna M. (Anna Mary) GalbraithPersonal hygiene and physical training for women → online text (page 22 of 30)