Tennis may be highly commended for young persons and those who are sufficiently strong to engage in this form of exercise without injury. Thi9 very popular game is, however, too vigorous for persons with weak hearts.
This is a capital exercise for persons who are fairly strong. It brings the muscles of the trunk into vigorous action.
The movements of chopping and digging, swinging the hammer and mowing are highly valuable exercises if "taken with due care to maintain the body in an erect position. Many household occupations, such as scrubbing, washing, and general housework, are execellent forms of exercise when correct posture is maintained.
Of first importance to persons suffering from constipation is the maintenance of an erect position of the trunk. When the chest is lowered, as in sitting in a relaxed attitude, the distance between the breast bone and pelvis is diminished so that the large muscles, which form the front of abdominal wall are shortened and relaxed. In this attitude the muscles cannot be contracted sufficiently to produce the proper degree of intra-abdominal pressure. When the chest is held high, the rectus muscles are stretched and are thus able by contraction to produce the maximum effect in compressing the colon. Flat-chested persons are predisposed to constipation because of inefficient action of the abdominal muscles.
The ordinary chair must be regarded to a very considerable degree as responsible for the prevalence of flat chest and round shoulders, and the evils which result from this deformity. It is possible to sit in an erect attitude in a chair of any shape; but with a chair with a straight back, constant effort is required, by forcible contraction of the muscles, to maintain the body in an erect position. The moment the muscles are permitted to relax, the trunk falls into an abnormal and unhealthy attitude, the spinal column being curved backward instead of forward, as is natural and necessary for health. This will readily be understood by reference to the accompanying cuts.
Incorrect Standing Position.
Getting Correct Standing Posture (First Position).
Method of Getting Correct Standing Poiture (Second Position).
Getting Correct Standing Posture (Third Position).
Correct Standing Posture.
As the result of an habitually wrong attitude in sitting, the same improper attitude is maintained when standing and walking, and the figure becomes deformed. A flat chest, round shoulders, and a forward carriage of the hips are characteristics to be found in the great majority of persons who lead sedentary lives, especially those who sit much at their work, such as accountants, writers, teachers, and professional people generally. One of the first things, then, for a constipated person to do is to correct his sitting and standing attitudes. This may be done by careful execution of the following exercises, which the writer has employed for more than 25 years with much satisfaction in the treatment of cases of this sort.
Stand against a straight wall. Place heels, hips, shoulders, head and hands firmly against the wall.
Now bend the head backward as far as possible, or until the eyes look straight up to the ceiling, at the same time permitting the chest and shoulders to move forward. While holding the head in this position, press the hands firmly against the wall; draw the chin down to position without allowing the shoulders to move backward; still holding the body rigid, allowing the arms to fall at the sides. In this position the chest will be held high and the abdominal muscles well drawn in. While holding this position execute movements with the arms; arm raising above the head, swimming movements, etc.
This is the correct standing position and should as far as possible, be constantly maintained in standing and walking. It is impossible, of course, to hold the muscles constantly rigid. In relaxing, however, care should be taken to keep the chest forward, so that the body does not fall back into the former incorrect attitude.
Sitting upon a chair or stool, preferably the latter, proceed as follows:
Place the hands on the hips, with the thumbs behind. Bend the head backward so as to look straight up to the ceiling; now bend forward as far as possible while still keeping the eyes on the ceiling; now make firm pressure with the thumbs, and while pressing hard bring the body up to the erect position. Still keeping the eyes upon the ceiling, holding the elbows as far back as possible, and without for an instant lessening the pressure on the thumbs, bring the chin down to position.
A Disease-Producing Chair.
A Health Chair.
If this movement is executed according to direction, it will bring the body into perfect position, with the chest raised high and the abdominal muscles well drawn in, as shown in the accompanying cut. To secure definite and beneficial results it is necessary to use a chair having a back of the right shape as shown in the accompanying illustration.