10 recreational activities You Must Know
recreational activities .As many girls are affected by spinal curvature, round shoulders, weak back or ankles, prolapsed stomach, bowels, or pelvic organs, constipation and poor general circulation, it seems well to give a few exercises that shall be corrective of these defects, premising that each exercise should be begun gradually and easily, increasing frequency and force, as strength is gained, say five times a day the first week, eight times a day the second week, and so on.
It is well to bear constantly in mind that all exercise, even walking on level ground, is objectionable in clothing that compresses the body; and as exercise is the law of the development of muscle, the only safe thing to do is so to dress that every muscle has free and unrestrained motion. Walking to be beneficial should be out of doors, with some pleasant motive, and taken with some degree of energy. The length of the walk should be proportional to the strength of the girl—short at first, and increasing as strength increases. The erect attitude should be maintained, and the walking not prolonged to exhaustion.
Walking slowly home from school, laden with books and intent on conversation with others, will not fulfill the demands of walking for exercise. It makes no demand on breathing power, does not develop depth of chest or strength of limb.
This is an admirable exercise if the dress be suitable. Long skirts are an impediment. Running on the toes develops the calf of the leg.
The swift motion causes deep breathing, which expands the chest. If violent or long-continued, it may make too urgent a demand on the heart and lungs, and so be detrimental. The counsel of a physician is safest for those whose heart and lungs are weak.
Horseback riding is a vigorous exercise, which would be especially beneficial were it not for the cramped position women are forced by custom to assume. It cannot be recommended to those who have a tendency to lateral curvature of the spine or weak back, or prolapsed internal organs. Such girls should by proper care be put into a better physical condition before attempting to ride. Harvey advises learning to ride on either side of the horse, so as to bring opposite sets of muscles into play, and counteract the curvature which physicians who have the opportunity to observe say is produced by riding. That being true, why not adopt the sensible fashion of riding on both sides of the horse at once, as men do? I saw a young lady so mounted the other day, and the sight was far more agreeable than the twisted attitude compelled by the side-saddle. Medical men also assert that riding tends to produce round shoulders, and as the greatest muscular strain comes on the back, it is not helpful to weak backs.
Skating is a fine exercise. It quickens the circulation and the respiration, aids digestion, exercises a great number of muscles, both of limbs and trunk of body, strengthens the ankles, and incidentally the nerves. Evils are to be found in wrong habits of dressing, the tendency to overdo through the fascination of the sport, the danger of taking cold by carelessly sitting down to rest when heated, or driving home after being warmed up by the severe exertion. A girl of good judgment, properly clothed, ought to be benefited by this charming out-door sport.
It should be begun very gradually at the opening of the skating season, and not undertaken if the internal organs are prolapsed.
Rowing is an exercise that develops the upper back and back of shoulders, and therefore needs to be counteracted by exercise that calls into play the muscles of the front of the chest.
The dangers of cycling arise principally from lack of judgment. The temptation to overdo is very great, and injury is done in attempts to ride longer, farther and faster than the strength will safely allow. The whole dress should be so arranged as to give perfect freedom of movement, the skirt short enough to clear the dangerous part of the mechanism, the saddle adjusted to the individual both in its make and height, and the girl be taught to sit properly and to adjust her weight so that the pressure will not be undue upon the perineum. Rectal and other local irritations are produced by the pressure of the whole weight resting on the saddle.
The position should not be absolutely erect, but leaning slightly forward, so as to allow the weight to be distributed between the handle-bars, the pedal, and the saddle. This slightly inclined attitude also maintains the proper and harmonious relation of the internal organs, so that the bowels do not crowd down on the pelvic organs.
If the girl is taught to sit on the machine properly, to distribute her weight, to sit on the large gluteal muscles, and not on the perineum, to use judgment in the amount of exercise taken at a time, there is no reason why a girl in a normal condition of health should not be benefited.
There may be particular reasons why some girls should not undertake to ride, and these can be determined by the physician.
This is a game that demands great activity, consequently there is especial need of entire freedom of movement. All constrictions of clothing are especially injurious.
It is claimed by some that, being essentially a one-sided exercise, there is a possibility, if unwisely indulged in, that it may produce injurious results, especially to the spine.
Swimming is not only a valuable exercise, but it really conduces to the safety of life in these days of constant boat travel, and there are no adequate reasons why girls should not learn. The younger they begin, the more readily will they become expert. It is not wise to indulge in this exercise while menstruating, nor immediately after eating.
There is some prejudice against this form of exercise from the fact that it can be overdone, and also from the popular idea that it is injurious to girls to jump.
If they are properly dressed, and their muscles are gradually developed, and they use good common sense as to amount, there are practically no dangers in skipping. It is admirably adapted to strengthen a great variety of muscles, as those of the legs, back, abdomen, and neck. It strengthens the knees and the arches of the feet, thereby tending to overcome flat foot. It strengthens weak backs, increases circulation and respiration and promotes digestion, and, if practised out of doors, is one of the most perfect forms of exercise. Of course the judgment dictates that when the pelvic organs are heavy with the menstrual congestion it would not be advisable.
Dancing, in itself considered, is a pleasant and beneficial exercise. It develops grace and muscular strength, increases circulation and respiration, and is cheering because of rhythm. One wishes that it could be unqualifiedly commended. But when we take into account the late hours, the heated rooms, the promiscuous company, the late unwholesome suppers, the improper dress, the dangers of taking cold, the immodest freedom of the round dance, and the not infrequent evils resulting therefrom, it would seem unwise to commend an exercise so surrounded by objectionable concomitants. It is observed that young church members who become interested in the dance soon lose all their interest in church work.
If dancing could be conducted in the daytime, out of doors, among well-known home friends and companions, in proper dress, and with no round dances, there would be much to commend, and little to condemn.
I can find little to say in favor of this form of amusement. It contains no exercise for the body. It continues the cramped attitudes to which most people are condemned during the day.
It certainly contributes nothing to the higher forms of enjoyment. It stimulates emulations, which St. Paul enumerates among things to be avoided; it is the accompaniment of gambling and low society; and, while we must admit that a pack of cards in itself is not evil, yet it can be and often is made most detrimental to the best interests of morality and righteousness.
The young woman who respects her own intellectual and moral powers will see little charm in manipulating cards in a way to gain a momentary success over another and perhaps arousing unkind feelings, it may be even passions, that may culminate in bloodshed.
It is natural that we should enjoy pictorial representation of human life with living actors and audible words; and, understanding this, many good people have had the hope that the stage might be purified and made a teacher of morals. Certainly valuable lessons of life might be most strongly presented in this concrete form, and thus appeal with wonderful power to the young and inexperienced. But that it might be so used does not insure that it will be, and observation shows us that it is not.
The modern play concerns itself principally with a delineation of those phases of life which we condemn when they become reality, and the teaching power of the stage becomes a lesson in wrongdoing which to the young and inexperienced is potent in its suggestiveness.
The costumes of actresses are often immodest, and many of these women are immoral in character. It would not be just to condemn all actors with the sweeping assertion of immorality, but all will admit that the temptations are great, and that great moral force is needed to resist the influences that lead towards wrong.
That many of our great actors will not permit their children to become actors, or, in some cases, even to enter the theatre as a witness of its performances, speaks strongly on the matter.
In the consideration of this subject the girl may safely decide that she will not be a permanent loser if she is not a frequenter of the theatre. It is safer to keep the mind pure and untainted from all pictures of sin, more especially if they are made attractive by the glamour of jewels and silken attire, of music, dancing, and lifelike portrayal.