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Keeping Fit All the Way / How to Obtain and Maintain Health, Strength and Efficiency By Walter Camp Characters: 20741

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03


And thus we approach one of the problems which this book is designed to solve. There are eight million men in this country between the ages of forty-five and sixty-four. Probably we may count upon another million from the men of sixty-four to seventy who would be "prospects," as the mining-men say. These men represent nine-tenths of the financial and executive strength of the United States.

THE SENIOR SERVICE CORPS

When I started the experiment of the Senior Service Corps at New Haven, in the spring of 1917, all my men were over forty-five, and several of them had passed the seventy mark; yet all found increased health and efficiency from the prescribed regime. There was a distinct gain, not only in health, but in spirits and in temper. Nerves that had been at high tension relaxed to normal. Effort that had seemed exhaustive became pleasurable. The ordinary problems of business or finance, once so apt to be vexatious, lost their power to produce worry. In fact, these men had renewed their youth; they had altered the horizon-line of advancing age, across which only clouds of doubt and apprehension could be seen, to that of youth, radiant with the sunshine of hope and the promise of accomplishment.

INITIAL HIKE OF FIRST SENIOR SERVICE CORPS

This war has started some new thoughts and has given emphasis to others that may not be new but which have never been forced home. One of these is the value of physical efficiency. A social scientist said some twenty years ago that the "greatest nation of the future would be the one which could send the most men to the top of the Matterhorn." Nations now realize that in such a time as this all men up to forty may be required for the firing-line; and this means that all the men from forty to seventy must be rendered especially efficient and physically fit in order to stand back of the fighting forces as a dependable reserve-money, power, and brains.

HIKE OF A SENIOR CORPS

THESE MEN, ALTHOUGH OVER FORTY-FIVE YEARS OF AGE, MARCHED FOR OVER FOUR HOURS WITHOUT DISCOMFORT

THE BASIC IDEA

This was the idea of the development of the Senior Service Corps-to take men who are over military age and make them physically fit for whatever strain may come. It has resulted in not only making them physically fit, but in practically renewing their youth. The experimental (New Haven) company of a hundred, varying in age from forty-five to over seventy, in weight from 114 to 265 pounds, and in height from 5 ft. 4 in. to 6 ft. 4 in., after just completing ninety days' training, marched at the dedication of the Artillery Armory over four and one-half hours without physical discomfort.

Now, war or no war, the man of over military age would like to be fit, would like to feel that glow of youth which comes even to the man of fifty when he is physically in condition.

Nine-tenths of the men over forty-five can accomplish this, and they can do it by the expenditure of only three or four hours a week if they will follow with absolute care the rules demonstrated by a scientific experiment upon a company of one hundred men over a period of ninety days. This company of New Haven professional and business men included the president of the Chamber of Commerce, the editor of the largest evening newspaper, the dean of Yale University, the director of the gymnasium, the president of Sargent & Company, the owner of the Poli Theater Circuit, the ex-mayor of the city, two judges, the treasurer of the savings-bank, the registrar of Yale University, four professors, three doctors, and many leading corporation officials.

At the end of this period these men were not only able to march for over four hours without discomfort, but without losing a man. Moreover, they all gained in spirits, recovered their erect carriage, and found themselves enjoying their tasks.

COMMUNITY PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT

The plan developed by the National Security League, under its committee on physical reserve, of assuring physical fitness for the nation, is capable of endless possibilities in application and development.

The plan treats each as a separate unit and allows it to adapt the physical-fitness scheme to local conditions, favoring the appointment of neighborhood groups for instruction in physical drill and the "Daily Dozen Set-up," assuring such conditions and applications of diet and hygiene as are particularly demanded by the individual community's conditions and demands.

Every individual detail and local development is left to the committee which each mayor or town or borough official appoints, on invitation of the league.

WALTER CAMP, PRESIDENT, AND JOSEPH C. JOHNSON, SECRETARY, OF THE ORIGINAL SENIOR SERVICE CORPS ESTABLISHED IN NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT, IN THE SPRING OF 1917

The ideal toward which every community is working is the establishment, as an integral part of it, of a local fitness plant. This includes first, playgrounds laid out for all recreational sports, in their season. The ideal playground system will have enough room in walks and landscape-gardening for park development-sufficient to meet the community's maximum needs.

Community physical-fitness centers are growing up in which an adjacent lake or river provides facilities for rowing, canoeing, and recreational enjoyment through breathing the fresh air, while taking regular physical, conditioning exercises.

Such an ideal community plant has proven by no means a vision incapable of realization. To-day men and women realize painfully the need for one in their home community and are prevented from the fulfilment of their dream by only two obstacles-lack of funds and adequate organization of the plan.

This work and these centers offer the greatest possibilities in the Americanization scheme, perfection of which is a paramount duty for this country.

SETTING-UP WORK OF A COMPANY OF ONE HUNDRED

DOCTOR ANDERSON LEADING A GROUP IN THE YALE GYMNASIUM

Not only do such plants transpose the astonishingly large percentage of the physically unfit of our foreign and domestic population and reclaim those whose physical imperfections have either become evident through the draft, or which are not known, but it affords the surest possible means of interesting this large element of our population in American institutions, of attracting them to the soundest and most beautiful features of American life, and of convincing them of their comradeship in the strength and sinew of American manhood; in short, of building the foundations of democracy on a base as stable as the eternal granite hills.

AN OUTLINE OF THE SYSTEM

The Senior Service program starts with setting-up exercises which open the chest, gently stimulate the heart, and start the blood coursing through the system, and follows with progressive walking, a little hill-climbing, and, later in the development, with some weight-carrying exercises. The system renews the resistive force of the body, tones up the muscles, opens the chest cavity so that the heart and lungs have more room and the breath is deeper and better, gives general exercise to the various muscles which have become more or less atrophied from disuse, and brings about a marked improvement in the mental outlook and in the animal spirits.

The system is a combination of setting-up exercises with outdoor work, all carefully and precisely laid out after twenty years of experience in conditioning men. It should be followed absolutely, not partially or occasionally. It is far from severe. Its strength lies in the cumulative effect rather than in any special effort at any one time.

It should be said that a mental effort is requisite in this course as well as the physical one. The correlation between mind and muscle must be re-established. The man must become master of his body once more and retain that mastery. Certain suggestions are also given specifically as to living-none of them irksome, but quite essential if the full result of the work is to be attained.

This was the first experiment of its kind, and hence it has proven of especial interest. There are plenty of cases of individuals taking up exercise in one form or another and benefiting somewhat by it; but when twenty to one hundred men in a group have engaged in this Senior Service work, the result has proven remarkable in every instance. The question seems to be simply this: If you are over military age and wish to renew your youth, and are willing to pay the price by devoting some three or four hours a week to a scientifically tested system, and can secure a score of other men to do it with you, you can be absolutely assured of success. Well, isn't it worth it?

INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP ACTION

Thousands of men are beginning to realize what all this means. My mail for the last six months has been full of the inquiry. Men of forty are rapidly awakening and are eager to devote these few hours to the task of keeping fit, and so increasing their efficiency. At the same time they are preventing these horrible and untimely punishments at the hand of Mother Nature.

Now there are two methods by which a man may still be young at sixty. One is an exceedingly hard route for most men to travel-namely, the individual practice of this scientifically tested formula and patient persistence in it. The other is by group action. The latter is far easier and its results are doubly effective. However, as in some cases group action may be impossible, this book furnishes the data for individual practice as well.

All the exercises described are possible for the individual as well as for the group. Should a man determine to follow them out alone, he must make up his mind that there shall be no interference with his carrying out his program with regularity and exactness. He must not for a moment believe that he can miss the exercises one day and then make up for the lapse by doubling them the next day. He must always follow the setting-up exercises with his walk and not do the setting-up in the morning and then wait till afternoon for his walk. It is the combination that produces the most effective results.

EFFECT OF THIRTY DAYS OF TRAINING UPON A COMPANY. THESE MEN ARE CARRYING IRON BARS WEIGHING NINE POUNDS EACH

PRACTISING AND MARCHING WITH IRON BARS WEIGHING NINE POUNDS EACH

In a group the leader constantly ca

utions the men as to carelessness or slackness. The individual having no leader must always keep his mind fixed upon the exact way in which his exercises should be performed. When he puts his hands behind his head in "Neck Firm" or "Head" he must keep his elbows back and his head up, while the chest should be arched. When he bends forward in the prone position he must not allow his head to droop. When he raises his knees in alternate motions he must bring his knees well up. When he does the exercise of leaning up against the wall, by means of the extended arm and hand, he must keep the distance far enough from the wall to bring about a certain amount of real effort by the hand, arm, and shoulder. And so it goes. It is for this reason that all the exercises are so carefully described and the method and manner of walking, marching, or "hiking" receive so much attention.

WORK AND HYGIENE

In a book recently published by one of the highest authorities on hygiene in the country, the following statements are made, statements which would prove of especial interest to those of us who have had the pleasure of being members of that "exclusive official Washington club," or of the Senior Service:

The problem of the mental worker is to get sufficient physical exercise to keep the mind and body at its maximum efficiency. This problem gets more and more acute as he gets older. The amount of work necessary to keep the man of sedentary habits in good condition is about 100 to 150 foot-tons. Five hundred foot-tons is the amount of work a soldier would perform by marching twenty miles at three miles an hour on a level road.

It is a fallacy to think that sufficient exercise can be taken once a week. In order to be efficient exercise must be regular and at relatively short intervals. All exercise should tend toward using all of the muscles of the body. In fatigue a person has lost control over his muscles. The process of getting into condition, therefore, is directed more toward strengthening the nervous system in its control work over the muscles rather than in increasing sheer muscular strength.

Pure creative mental work, although requiring no out-put of physical energy, is perhaps the most productive of fatigue. The brain gets more blood during physical activity and waste products are much better removed. The effects of exercise are particularly apparent in the lungs. More fresh air is brought to the lungs and the waste products are driven off.

An attainable minimum for the average adult person might well consist of taking simple exercises in his room, and to get out of doors once a day and walk rapidly for at least half an hour. In addition, it is desirable for any one up to fifty years of age to take some kind of moderately violent exercise at least once a week. This should be sufficiently strenuous to induce perspiration. This is important for several reasons. In the first place, there is an old saying, which happens to be true, "Never let your blood-vessels get stiff." In addition we should call on the tremendous reserve which Nature gives to us, at least once in a while.

"COUNTING OFF" A COMPANY IN THE YALE GYMNASIUM

"HEAD" POSITION. GROUP OF ONE HUNDRED, SENIOR CORPS>

WATER, WALKING, AND FOOD

Water plays a very important part in the life of man, for without it a person can live for only a short time. Its importance is shown by experimental fasts lasting for thirty days where only water was taken, and when we consider that the body is composed of from 60 to 70 per cent, of water and that the amount which it throws off as waste has to be replaced through nutrition, we realize the value of water to life. The average person, therefore, should take from two to four quarts of water a day.

RESULT OF SIXTY DAYS' TRAINING IN CARRIAGE. THE TWO MEN IN FRONT WEIGH 265 AND 230 POUNDS RESPECTIVELY

LOOK AND DETERMINATION ON FIRST DAY'S MARCH, DURING WHICH THE MEN CARRIED IRON BARS WEIGHING NINE POUNDS EACH

At middle age it is natural for most people to put on weight, unless they are especially active in their daily life. For, having acquired a habit of consuming a certain amount of food, it is absolutely essential to exercise and thereby offset the tendency of this food to make fat and increase the weight. Walking can be enjoyed by everybody, and a four-or five-mile "hike" daily makes your credit at the bank of health mount up steadily. We should all learn that when we rob the trolley company of a nickel by walking we add a dime to our deposit of health.

Food, of course, is one of the main factors in one's general health, and we hear on all sides the opinions of people as to the causes of indigestion and the general ailments connected with eating. One thing is certain, however, and that is that pleasure has a favorable effect on the digestion. Pleasant company at a meal, the dainty serving of the viands, and the attractiveness of the food combinations pave the way to a satisfactory repast, eaten with enjoyment and completely assimilated.

A MODEL DIETARY

Because diet is a real aid to physical well-being, the following table is offered as a rough suggestion for a typical dietary for a man leading a more or less sedentary life. But it will never replace exercise.

BREAKFAST Approximate Calories

Orange or grapefruit.................... 100

Two eggs................................ 166

Two Vienna rolls........................ 258

Butter.................................. 119

Coffee with milk and sugar.............. 100

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Total................................... 743

LUNCHEON Approximate Calories

Twelve soda crackers.................... 300

One pint milk........................... 325

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Total................................... 625

DINNER Approximate Calories

Soup (consommé)......................... 14

Roast beef.............................. 357

Potato.................................. 145

String beans or peas.................... 13

Bread................................... 100

Butter.................................. 119

Apple pie............................... 352

Glass of milk........................... 157

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Total.................................. 1257

Many people have adopted a so-called vegetarian diet, believing that it is better for the health than eating meat. Undoubtedly food from the vegetable kingdom is a great benefit to the human system, but strict vegetarianism is not recommended by our medical men. Nature apparently intended us to be omnivorous, and, in addition, vegetarianism may run too close to the dangers of carbohydrate excess. As man progresses after middle life he can unquestionably diminish materially the amount of meat in his diet.

In recent years there has been a revival of the theory of prolonged mastication of a limited amount of food. This theory is sound in so far as it tends to overcome the bolting of food and over-eating, but there is a belief among our practitioners that there is little basis in science or experience for the extremes of this character.

HYGIENIC CURE-ALLS

Among recent fads is the so-called buttermilk or sour milk diet as advocated by Metchnikoff. The original theory was interesting and was, in part, that the bacteria derived from soured milk would drive out of the intestinal canal all the harmful germs. Quite possibly there may be something in the theory, especially if large quantities of milk are taken with the lactic acid bacilli, but the beneficial effect of this change of bacteria is not convincingly of great consequence.

FRESH AIR

It is now generally known that an abundant supply of moving, pure, fresh air is the proper and simple solution of the problem of the hygiene of the air.

Oxygen is the element of the air which sustains life. We inhale about seven pounds per day, two pounds of which are absorbed by the body. The air becomes dangerous, or infected, when the oxygen in the air is decreased to only 11 or 12 per cent., and when the oxygen reaches 7 per cent. death occurs from asphyxiation.

The human body requires about three thousand cubic feet per hour, and the great problem of ventilation is to give this amount of pure air, moving, and with the proper amount of moisture.

It is a common belief that with each breath we take we are filling our lungs with fresh air. This is not the case, for we never do get our lungs filled with fresh air. What really happens is that we ventilate a long tube which has no intercommunication whatever with the blood. Most of the time our lungs are filled with impure air, and we simply exchange a part of it for fresh air.

THE VALUE OF DEEP BREATHING

Deep breathing is undoubtedly extremely beneficial. Most of us, due largely to the fact that Nature leaves a considerable margin of safety, are able to carry on our ordinary activities without the requisite ventilation of the lungs, especially if we do not exercise. This, however, is injurious to the lungs, for it allows the blood to stagnate in them. Exercise is Nature's method of compelling ventilation in the lung area. Deep breathing may be used as a substitute, but the other beneficial effects of exercise are lost.

The skin and the various glands connected with it form a complex organism, the functions of which play a very important part in the work which the body has to do. The skin aids the lungs in their work of respiration; and, like the lungs, it throws off water and carbon dioxide and absorbs oxygen. The respiratory work of the skin, however, is only a minute fraction of that which the lungs do.

The skin is a heat regulator, and in this, its most important work, it is aided by the two million or more sweat-glands which are distributed over almost the entire surface of the body. The skin and the sweat-glands work together to keep the blood at an even temperature, either by giving off heat or in preventing this process in case the outside air is too cool. The body temperature, as a rule, is higher than that of the outside air, so that heat is generally being given off by the skin. We are perspiring constantly, but usually to such a slight extent that the fact is hardly noticeable. The amount of heat which is thrown off at any time is proportional to the amount of the tissue burned up by muscular action.

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