By D. A. Sargent, M.D.
IN spite of their objectionable tendencies, the beneficial effects of athletic sports upon the development of the physique are evident. The nature of this development is governed largely by the constitutional bias of the individual, the sport in which he is engaged, and the time devoted to it.
Figure 1. (See description on Page 53.)
There is, however, a general development which distinguishes the athletic from the non-athletic class. The tracings given in Chart I* (p. 54) were made from the measurements of twenty-three hundred Harvard students, of whom seventeen hundred had never practised athletics systematically, while six hundred had been active members of college athletic organizations from one to four years. Many of the former class, however, were accustomed to some form of physical exercise, and the athletic career of many in the second class was limited to a single season.
It may be said, also, that men are often selected for athletics on account of their height and weight, so that the increased size exhibited in such cases cannot always be attributed to the practice of athletic exercises. The chances are, however, that every member of a college team has had more or less previous experience in athletics.
Knowing, as we do, the influence of physical activity upon the development of the individual, it is fair to presume that a like influence will be exerted on the development of a class. The nature of this development may be found by referring to the heavy lines on the chart. Supposing the fifty per cent line to represent the mean measurements of the non-athletic class, the heavy line at the right of the fifty per cent line will then indicate the mean relative standing of the athletic class. On the other hand, let the fifty per cent line represent the mean measurements of the athletic class, and the mean measurements of the non-athletic class will be represented by the heavy line at the left of the fifty per cent line. The chart as a whole seems to indicate that the first and most marked changes produced upon the physique by the practice of athletics are shown in the weight, girth of chest, hips, thighs, and arms, in breadth of shoulders, and in the increased strength of all
* In order to understand the construction of the charts used in this article, see preceding chapter, "The Physical Proportions of the Typical Man." It should also be noted that the records herein cited all date to 1887 only.
Figure i. - B------, Harvard, '86; age, 23 years, 7 months; weight, 140 lbs.; height, 5 feet, 10.9 inches. Holds nearly all the amateur records from 100 yards to 440 yards, and the Harvard record for 1/2 mile:
100 yards, 10 seconds'; no yards, 11 1/5 seconds;
130 yards, 13 seconds;
180 yards, 18 seconds;
220 yards, 22 seconds;
440 yards, 47 3/4 seconds.
Figure 2. - W------, Harvard/82; age, 27years; weight, 125.7 lbs.; height, 5 feet, 9.7 inches. He holds the best American and college record for 100 yards in 10 seconds. In justice to Mr. W-----it should be said that he consented to have his meas-urementsand photograph taken at a time when he was not in running condition.
Chart I., showing the comparative measurements of the athletic and non-athletic classes.
Figure 3. - B------, parts of the body, while the girth of the neck, waist, and calves, the depth of chest and the abdomen, the breadth of neck, waist, and hips, seem to respond more slowly. The total height is slightly increased, through increase in length of the lower extremities; but the sitting height, the girth of head, knees, insteps, wrist, and the length of upper arm and foot, are at first hardly altered.
Harvard, '87; age, 21 years, 7 months; weight, 141 lbs.; height, 5 feet, 11.9 inches. Holds the Intercollegiate walking-records from one mile to seven; has practised walking for last four years; 1 mile, 6 minutes, 595 seconds; 2 miles, 15 minutes, 10 1/2 seconds; 3 miles, 24 minutes, 14 2/5 seconds; 7 miles, 58 minutes, 52 seconds.
In the athletic class, the excess in development of the right arm tends to establish the fact that our popular games give more employment to the right arm than to the left. The great showing of strength in the forearm of athletes is probably due to the number of tennis-players, boating and base-ball men that belonged to the class measured. The slight difference between the two classes in the girth of the waist and the calf, and the consequent tendency of the lines to approach at these points, may be easily accounted for. In persons who engage in very active exercise, the girth of the waist will at first diminish, while in persons of less active habit the size of the waist increases. The muscles of the lower leg are generally well developed in the non-athletic class, being the principal muscles brought into play in walking. The depth of abdomen and breadth of waist would not be likely to show a marked change, for reasons already given. The depth of chest and breadth of hips, being principally bone measurements, are slow to respond to exercise. The similarity in the two classes between the mean girth of head, knee, instep, and wrist, and the length of foot, may perhaps be accounted for by the smallness of the athletic as compared with the non-athletic class.