In 1923, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg of the Battle Creek Sanitarium released a five-record set of 78rpm records through Columbia. With them, he provided a pamphlet with background on his exercises, along with a discussion of his "Biologic Living" lifestyle. What follows is the text of that pamphlet.
THE BATTLE CREEK SANITARIUM HEALTH LADDER OF EIGHT ROUNDS
Man belongs to a class of animals noted for great muscular activity--the Primates, which includes those man-like and wonderfully active creatures, the chimpanzee and the gorilla. Daily exercise is as necessary to maintain health and high efficiency of mind and body as are food, pure water, fresh air, sunshine and sleep. Inactivity of the body breeds disease in the tissues just as stagnation breeds pollution and corruption in water. More than forty years ago, the writer conceived the idea of making setting up drills and corrective exercises more agreeable, and hence more efficient, by the aid of appropriate music. During all this time, exercise with music has been a conspicuous feature of the system of health training in vogue at the Battle Creek Sanitarium. The results have been so excellent, the writer has yielded to an urgent and persistent demand for a special series of exercises adapted for use at home by the aid of phonographic instructions with music. The Columbia Graphophone Company has prepared, under the writer's supervision, a series of five records embodying twenty different exercises arranged in eight groups under the name, THE HEALTH LADDER. Each of the eight "Rounds" consists of two or three properly correlated exercises.
THE HEALTH LADDER is offered as one efficient means by which those who have little health may get more, and those who have good health may maintain and improve it. It rests upon a sound, scientific basis and has borne the test of many years of use. Thousands of semi-invalids and valetudinarians have, by the aid of these exercises, climbed up to health, happiness and efficiency.
Exercise not only develops the muscles of the limbs and trunk, but also the heart, itself a muscle, the lungs, and even the bones. It aids digestion, blood-making, tissue-building. liver and kidney- functions, bowel action--every form of vital activity.
The centenarian is always a man who has kept his muscles active by work. According to the Metropolitan Life Insurance statistics, the average man who works in an office dies at 35 years, while the farmer lives till 50. And the average office girl dies at 26, while the housewife lives till 53. These sedentary people die from stagnation. Consumption carries them off. They are smothered to death. A daily climb of THE HEALTH LADDER may be a life-saver for such persons.
Everybody needs exercise. Persons past middle age and chronic invalids (few persons over forty are wholly free from chronic disease) need exercise even more than do persons in health.
THE HEALTH LADDER offers not only an easy, dependable, and enjoyable means of escape from premature death or senility but a means by which mental as well as physical efficiency and the joy and comfort of living may be insured and augmented. The arrangement of the exercises of THE HEALTH LADDER is such as to bring all parts of the body into active play, thus encouraging symmetrical development. The exercises in the first Rounds are less difficult than those of the later ones. This arrangement will enable those who are not strong enough to go through the entire series of exercises at first to advance from one Round to another, as their strength increases, until they are able to go through the entire set of exercises once or twice a day.
For the convenience of those who are able to take vigorous exercises, the principal exercises of the series are summarized in the last two records, explanatory directions being omitted to save time and space.
❦ WHAT "THE HEALTH LADDER" AIMS TO ACCOMPLISH
1. To correct wrong poise in sitting or standing. bad postures at work, such defects in physique as flat chest, round back, projecting abdomen and forward carriage of hips.
2. To improve breathing and circulation by strengthening the
Heart, chest muscles, diaphragm and abdominal muscles.
3. To restore as nearly as possible to normal position the prolapsed or fallen stomach, liver. kidneys, colon and other abdominal and pelvic organs.
4. To remove undue accumulations of fat.
5. In general muscular work to improve the general nutrition, thus increasing vital resistance, conductance and mental and physical efficiency
❦ GENERAL RULES AND SUGGESTIONS
1. Exercise, to be really valuable, must be systematic; that is, it must be taken in such a way as to bring into place all the muscles of the body in a natural and symmetrical manner, or, in case the exercise is taken to correct deformities or special weaknesses, it should be such as will be best calculated to accomplish the desired end.
2. Exercise must be taken regularly. The way most business men take their exercise, going off fishing or hunting once a year for one or two weeks, or now and then taking a very long walk or a tiresome rowing excursion, is not calculated to strengthen the muscles, but rather to make them sore and stiff, and to discourage efforts in this direction.
Exercise should he taken daily, and if possible, at a regular hour. The body requires its daily dose of muscular exercise as much as its daily portion of food; and it should be quite as sensible to undertake to do a month's eating in a single day as to take all of one's exercise for a year in a month's holiday.
3. The best time for taking exercise is about ten o'clock in the forenoon, but for the average individual the best time is at an hour as will enable him to take it at the same time every day, thereby allowing the system to accustom itself to periodical muscular work, and so acquire the greatest amount of benefit from it. As a rule, especially with weak persons, a large amount of exercise should not he taken before breakfast. Persons who have feeble digestion often suffer ill effects from taking long walks before breakfast, becoming so 'faint" that the relish for food is lessened as well as the power to digest it. For those who have active duties requiring their attention during the usual business hours, the exercises may be taken morning and evening--say, half an hour before breakfast and in equal length of time before going to bed.
4. The amount of exercise should be such as will produce genuine fatigue. At the beginning, the exercise should he taken very moderately indeed, and should he stopped much short of exhaustion. Weak muscles, in particular, should be exercised with very great care. Many persons become discouraged in their efforts in the direction of physical culture by attempting to do too much at first. At no time during the course of physical training should the exercises be so violent as to be exhausting; but they should be so gradually increased that the heaviest exercise at the last will be no more taxing than the very lightest at the beginning. This requires that the amount of muscular work done should be so carefully graduated that the muscles will have time to develop.
5. The clothing should be such as to insure the greatest possible freedom of movement. Corsets, tight collars, high-heeled or tight shoes, must never he worn. Very light and loose garments alone are suitable. In the privacy of one's sleeping room, pajamas or even less clothing will enhance the benefits of the exercise.
6. Unpleasant symptoms of any sort following any of the exercises are significant and should receive due consideration, but need not necessarily cause them to he discontinued. For example, soreness of the muscles after exercise, ordinarily indicates simply that the muscle is weak and needs to he strengthened by a repetition of the very exercise which caused the soreness. Moderation is necessary, however, for the time being; but in a few days the soreness will disappear, and soon the muscles will become stronger.
7. Headache is usually due to either too prolonged or too violent exercise.
8. Shortness of breath is most often due to a weak heart; that is, a heart feeble because of general weakness or perhaps damaged by myocarditis. In such cases, great care must be taken at the beginning to avoid too vigorous and too prolonged exercise. When the heart is known to be diseased, exercise should he taken under the supervision of a physician.
9. Persons unaccustomed to exercise should avoid overdoing, especially at the start.
10. The benefits of exercise of exercise can only be secured when plenty of sleep is taken for the reason that repair and growth take place chiefly during sleep.
11. Position.--In order that the greatest benefits shall be obtained from the exercises, care must be taken to maintain a correct position of the body. The chest should be held high and the abdominal muscles well drawn in.
❦ THE PHYSIOLOGY OF EXERCISE
Exercise quickens all the bodily activities; heart action, lung action, digestion, liver action, kidney action, brain action, are all helped by exercise. The blood is the life of the body. The blood creates, builds, repairs and heals. The blood is to every cell and organ of the body what a stream is to the water wheel and the mill which it runs. The blood turns all the wheels of life. It carries food, oxygen and hormones, or vitamins to every body cell. Exercise quickens the movement of the blood to an extraordinary extent. It changes the sluggish stream of life into a rushing torrent of vital energy. The muscles constitute half the weight of the body. When active, they are capable of holding half of all the blood in the body; when idle, they are almost bloodless. The amount of blood passing through an active muscle is 5-10 times the amount going through an idle muscle in the same length of time. So the effect of exercise upon the body is much like that of turning a sparkling, dashing mountain brook into a stagnant pool. The bodies of dogs and horses that are deprived of exercise, acquire strong animal odors. The same thing happens to sedentary men and women. The body becomes saturated with tissue wastes, malodorous matters which should have been eliminated through kidneys, liver, bowels and other sewage outlets. Exercise cleanses the tissues and fluids of the body and makes the body clean and sweet.
❦ WHAT EXERCISE DOES FOR THE HEART
The heart is a muscle, a live pump that works incessantly, but it takes a little rest after each beat. When the body is at rest, the heart works slowly and with little effort. The harder the muscles work, the harder the heart works. Muscles differ from man-made machines in the fact that they grow stronger by use. Exercise is thus the one means by which the heart, as well as other muscles, may be made strong. This fact is of tremendous importance, for failure of the heart is the direct cause of death. Life must continue as long as the heart can keep going, and the strong heart can keep going under conditions and stresses which will quickly stop a feeble heart. A person with a feeble heart has little chance to survive an attack of pneumonia or prolonged fever or a severe surgical operation, or an emergency requiring great exertion, or some other test of heart endurance which another person whose heart has been strengthened by muscle training may easily survive. The majority of the victims of pneumonia are persons whose hearts have been weakened by disease or a sedentary life, or have been injured in some other way. By judicious training one's life expectancy may be greatly increased, and in some instances doubled or even trebled.
A good test for the strength of the heart is the quickness with which the heart returns to its normal rate after a short period of more or less vigorous exercise. The stronger the heart, the less increase in the pulse rate from exercise and the sooner the quickening will disappear. When the increased rate continues more than two or three minutes after a short period of moderately vigorous exercise, the heart is evidently weak.
Shortness of breath, produced by some moderately active exercise, such as ascending a flight of stairs, is another evidence of heart weakness.
Extreme weakness of the heart is indicated by blueness of the lips, a dusky hue of the skin, and swelling of the ankles. The swelling is most noticeable in the evening.
Exercise aids the heart by opening up the blood-vessels and pushing the blood forward in the veins. The arteries of the body are a sort of supplementary heart. When active, they aid greatly in propelling the blood forward. Exercise stimulates the arteries and keeps them distended, and in this way combats arteriosclerosis. Dr. Harvey found no evidence of hardening of the arteries in his postmortem examination of Old Parr, who died at the reputed age of one hundred and fifty-two years and nine months, after having led a very active and vigorous life as a tiller of the soil.
When not brought into full activity by exercise. the arteries shrivel, their muscular walls are weakened, the circulation is disturbed and unbalanced, the hands and feet are likely to be cold and the head hot. Exercise is the only means by which the heart and the circulation may be strengthened and kept in good condition.
❦ HOW EXERCISE HELPS THE LUNGS
In ordinary breathing, the amount of air which passes out and in is very small, less than a pint, scarcely one-tenth the amount which may be inhaled and exhaled in very deep breathing after exercise. By strengthening the breathing muscles, the amount of air inhaled and exhaled in ordinary respiration, the so-called "tidal air," or air exchanged in ordinary breathing, may be greatly increased. Claude Bernard, the great French physiologist, by experiments upon the soldiers in training at Joinville, found that the amount of air exhaled and inhaled at each breath during sleep, was doubled after three months' training. This is one of the enormous advantages gained by exercise. Doubling the automatic efficiency of the lungs is one of the best means possible for prolonging life and increasing mental and vital efficiency. Many sedentary people use their lungs so feebly that they are continually in a state of partial suffocation. The lungs are the chimney of the body; exercise increases the draft and so brightens the vital fires upon which forms of human activity ultimately depend.
The rate of respiration in the horizontal position is 10 to 12 per minute. Sitting, the rate increases to 12 or 15 per minute. Standing increases the rate to 18 or 20 per minute. In walking, respiration is further increased. In running, the rate of breathing reaches 40 to 50 a minute.
Taking the amount of air drawn into the lungs per minute, while lying down, as the unit of measurement (1.00), Dr. Edward Smith showed that the amount is increased by change of position or exercise in the following proportions:
Sitting up 1.22
Sitting and singing 1.26
Walking at the rate of 1 mile an hour 1.90
Walking at the rate of 2 miles an hour 2.76
Walking at the rate of 3 miles an hour 3.20
Walking at the rate of 3 miles an hour and carrying a weight of 34 lbs 3.50
Walking at the rate of 3 miles an hour and Carrying a weight of 118 lbs 4.75
Walking at the rate of 4 miles an hour (five times as much as lying down) 5.00
Running at the rate of 6 miles an hour (seven times as much as lying down) 7.00
Zuntz found that the volume of air expired is 17 pints per minute, resting; 34 pints per minute, walking on a level; 55 pints per minute, climbing. In steep climbing, it may he as high as 85 pints, or more than ten and one-half gallons per minute.
Exercise, especially very active effort, greatly accelerates the breathing movements and increases the depth of respiration. At first, the breathing is often slightly difficult, but after a short time, when the runner gets his "second wind," respiration becomes easier, due to the fact that the entire lung surface has been brought into action by the complete distension of every part of the lungs. This fact has in it an important lesson, namely, that in ordinary breathing the entire lungs are not brought into use, and hence are likely to become diseased unless brought into full and active movement by frequently taking exercises which necessitate deep and full respiration. Such exercises should be taken several times a day.
How Exercise Assists Digestion.--Exercise Rids digestion by creating an appetite, promoting the secretion of the digestive fluids and increasing the peristaltic movements of the intestines. The Good Book says, "He that will not work, neither shall he eat." Nature says the same by removing the desire for food or the power to digest it. The inactive man who retains a keen appetite and satisfies it, runs great risk from the accumulation in his body of unnecessary or unused material, which clogs the vital machinery and fills the blood with poisons whereby its resistance and that of the body are diminished.
Nature takes away the appetite of the idle man, and lessens digestive vigor. Exercise increases the activity of the skin. The kidneys normally eliminate from a pint to a pint and a half of secretions daily. The skin of an inactive person eliminates half this amount of fluid, chiefly in the form of insensible perspiration.
Exercise increases animal heat.-- The activity of the skin is increased, causing sweat, or sensible perspiration by the evaporation of which the body is cooled. The quantity of water eliminated through the skin during exercise may be two and one half times the amount eliminated by the kidneys. Changes in the quantity of urine are largely due to changes in the activity of the skin. The inactivity of the skin of a sedentary person greatly increases the work required of the kidneys. The chief function of the kidneys is to remove poisons from the blood. The urine is no extract of the tissues, hence the condition of the tissue fluids may be judged by the amount of toxins in the urine.
Bouchard showed that, by exercise, the amount of poisons found in the urine is diminished by one-half. Exercise increases the amount of oxygen taken into the blood so greatly that the poisonous wastes are oxidized or burned more completely and the task of the kidneys is very greatly lessened.
This fact affords the explanation of the early and frequent occurrence of hardening of the arteries in business men who confine themselves closely to their counting rooms and neglect exercise. Hardening of the arteries is produced by the circulation of poisons in the blood. By exercise these poisons are oxidized and destroyed, and the kidneys are aided in the work of eliminating them. The daily practice of THE HEALTH LADDER will be found a most efficient means of maintaining the health of the kidneys and postponing the senile changes in the blood-vessels and other organs which are the inevitable result of overwork and premature failure of the kidneys, and are the cause of old age.
Muscular Development.--The development of the muscles themselves, though not the greatest of the advantages derived from active and regular muscular exercise, is an important aid in combating the enemies of life with which we are continually surrounded. Strong muscles are usually associated with a strong heart, for exercise of the muscles necessarily develops the heart. A strong heart insures vigorous circulation and an ample supply of blood to every part.
The possession of strong muscles is an immense advantage in every trade or profession, and in all the walks of life, furnishing a background of vigor and energy which is vital capital of inestimable value.
The vigorous development of the muscles of the trunk is of even greater importance than the development of the arm and leg muscles. The development of the muscles of the chest is essential to the healthy action of the lungs. Development of the abdominal muscles is necessary to maintain the abdominal organs in their position and to assist in breathing. Strong back muscles are especially necessary to maintain a healthy poise of the body, which is essential to healthful lung action, and to the healthy action of all the organs of the chest and abdomen. The neglect to develop the muscles of the back leads to weakness of the respiratory and abdominal muscles and to various bodily deformities, external and internal, such as flat and hollow chest, round shoulders, spinal curvatures and twistings, and displacements of the various internal organs. These deformities are in part the result of abnormal attitudes, and in women, due largely due to improper dress. The daily practice of THE HEALTH LADDER exercises will prevent and cure these deformities.
❦ ENERGY EXPENDITURE IN EXERCISE
Walking at a moderate rate, three miles an hour, on a level surface, involves the expenditure of one food pound of energy to move one pound of body weight five feet.
To lift the body vertically requires an expenditure of nearly three foot pounds of energy for each pound of body weight and each foot of vertical lift.
The mechanical work done in walking a quarter of a mile on a level, is equal to that required to lift the body vertically one hundred feet.
The amount of work done in climbing a mountain can easily be calculated by multiplying the height in feet by the body weight in pounds and adding to this the work done in walking the distance traveled horizontally.
Going down an incline of 25 percent requires an expenditure of twice as much energy as walking on a horizontal surface.
In walking down a grade of 5 per cent, there is said to be a saving in the energy expended of 40 to 45 percent over walking on a level.
Exercise Aids Mental Activity by Purifying the Blood and Supplying the Brain with Vitalizing Oxygen
Gladstone prepared himself for his great speeches in Parliament by chopping down his big oak trees at Hawarden. Dickens walked nine miles every day before breakfast and sometimes extended his walk to thirty miles. John Wesley, when a student, ran three times around the Charter House square every morning. Herbert Spencer prepared himself for critical mental work by an hour’s rowing. William Cullen Bryant, when past eighty, prepared himself for writing his daily editorials for the New York Evening Post by running around his room on all fours or by taking a long walk in the open air. Bryon took a daily run across the fields, and swam the Bosphorous.
It is far more important to observe a correct poise or posture of the body in standing, sitting, and while engaged in work or other activities, than to possess strong muscles. Of course, the possession of strong muscles may assist one in maintaining a correct bodily poise or a good physical bearing, but one may have strong muscles an the same time, through neglect, carry his body in such a way as to invite and develop disease.
The natural curves of the body are not accidental. The external contour of the body has a most intimate relation to the
development and normal functioning, not only of the great vital organs, but of every cell and tissue of the body.
The muscles which form the wall of the abdomen have in recent years been found to possess a function of the utmost importance in the regulation of the blood supply of the entire body. This is due to the fact that the great blood vessels of the abdomen have a capacity sufficient to contain all the blood in the body.
The blood will naturally gravitate toward the abdomen, unless prevented from doing so by efficient support from contraction of the abdominal muscles. If the muscles are too weak to make the necessary pressure, the abdominal veins become distended with
blood and the head and upper parts of the body are robbed to their due share of the vital fluid. This explains the frequent occurrence of fainting in the vertical position and recovery in the horizontal. A person who becomes faint in the upright posture may more quickly recover by sitting and bending forward and pressing the abdomen against the thighs than by lying on the floor.
When the abdominal muscles are properly developed, this adjustment always occurs; when the vertical position is assumed, provided that the attitude of the body is such as to make the adjustment possible. When the trunk is bent forward, the distance between the ribs and the pelvic bones, the points of attachment of the two ends of the abdominal muscles are brought nearer together. The normal distance may be lessened as much as two inches, or even more. The "tone" of the muscles is not sufficient to take up so much slack, and consequently, if a person assumes a stooped and relaxed or "slouched" position, there is certain to be an undue accumulation of blood in the vessels of the abdomen. The liver, spleen, stomach, intestines and Pelvic organs--every structure in this region of the body is overcharged with blood, in a condition of passive congestion, a condition which is an open invitation to disease and, sooner or later, results in the development of various disorders, such as constipation, intestinal catarrh, colitis, gallbladder disease, diseases of the uterus and ovaries in women, and of the bladder and prostate in men, hemorrhoids and various other rectal troubles, to say nothing of the almost endless list of maladies and miseries which grow out of intestinal autointoxication. When one sits erect, the chest is elevated, the abdominal muscles are drawn in, the internal organs are held up in their proper positions, and the movement of blood through these organs is active, and their functions normally performed.
The correction of the stooped position in sitting, and the cultivation of an erect attitude, with deep breathing, will he found in itself sufficient to cure many a backache, sideache, or headache, and a considerable part of the indigestion, heaviness, and the accompanying distresses from which multitudes suffer, and for the relief of which quantities of nostrums are swallowed in vain.
Sit Tall--Parents and teachers should admonish the children under their care to "sit tall," to reach their heads up as high as possible, and should take the advice to themselves.
In sitting, the seat should be of the proper height, so that the feet may be placed squarely upon the floor and supported without undue pressure upon the under side of the leg. When the legs hang over the edge of the chair, the blood circulation is interfered with, the nerves all pressed upon, and the limbs become numb and cold, or "go to sleep," to use the common expression. To avoid this discomfort, the occupant of a seat which is too high slips forward and reclines in his seat. This is an exceedingly bad position, resulting in relaxation of all the muscles of the trunk, and extreme flattening of the chest.
It is well to bear in mind that one should never lie down when sitting up, but should remain in an erect position. The chest should be well raised forward, and the abdominal muscles well drawn in. To do this will at first require attention and effort. One must every few moments correct his position. After a while the habit of correct sitting will be acquired, and great advantages healthwise will thereby be gained.
One of the obstacles to assuming and maintaining a correct position in sitting is a weak; over-stretched condition of the muscles of the back. Correct sitting is a splendid exercise for these muscles, and THE HEALTH LADDER exercises will aid greatly in developing them. It is worse than useless to say to a round-shouldered person, "Put your shoulders back." The proper thing to do is to instruct him to put the chest forward. His shoulders will then naturally fall back in the effort to balance the body. The shoulders may be put back without in the slightest degree correcting the deformity.
Position, or posture, is a matter of highest importance, then, especially to invalids. In sitting, care should he taken to select a seat with a back of such form that it will maintain the natural curves of the trunk when the muscles are relaxed.
Most chairs require the use of a cushion at the hollow of the back to accomplish this. Even when in bed, the average invalid may with great profit make use of sand bags or cushions as a support for the back when lying in the dorsal position.
❦ TO CORRECT WRONG POSTURE
By observing the following suggestions, a person whose spine has not become rigid, may at once acquire a proper posture, either sitting or standing; and when the correct posture has once been acquired and its advantages in improvement of the form and figure have been appreciated, nothing more is needed than an intelligent observance of the simple directions here given:
Sitting in a chair with the hips touching the back of the
chair, place the hands lightly upon the hips, with the thumbs behind. Turn the head backward until the eyes look straight to the ceiling. Now bend the body forward at the hips, keeping the eyes on the ceiling.
Make firm pressure upon the thumbs to keep the chest from dropping and bring the trunk slowly up to vertical position.
Now if the head is straightened up to a natural position, the body will he found to be in correct poise. To keep it in this position, it will usually be necessary to slip into place, at the hollow of the back, a cushion three to four inches in thickness. Such a cushion may be easily made of newspapers rolled together, or cotton, or hair with the proper covering.
❦ TO ACQUIRE CORRECT STANDING POSTURE
This is easily acquired by persons whose spines have not become rigid by too long neglect.
Stand with the back against a smooth wall. Place the heels and the hips against the wall. Clasp the hands behind the back as high up as possible, allowing the hands and arms to rest against the wall. Now lift the chest as high as possible. Turn in the abdominal muscles, hold the chin in, and pull strongly upon the hands. This will "set" the muscles of the back and shoulders and keep the chest from returning to its old position.
Still pulling on the hands, step forward from the wall, holding the hips well back and the chest forward, the abdominal muscles tucked in. Walk across the room, swinging the arms. Relax just enough to relieve the sense of tension, and the body will be found in perfect poise, as shown in the accompanying cuts. Note the “feeling” when the body is thus held in good form, and endeavor to maintain this position.
When the abdominal walls are greatly relaxed, permitting the stomach, colon, and other viscera to drop very low, the abdominal supporter should be applied until the weakened muscles have been sufficiently strengthened to render the supporter no longer necessary.
❦ SOME AUXILIARY EXERCISES
While THE HEALTH LADDER is so arranged as to provide a complete set of exercises by which the essential benefits of muscular activity may be secured, there are other forms of exercise which may be advantageously employed in special cases or under special circumstances or in addition to the daily morning or evening drill. Of the many which might be named, we mention a few of those which experience has shown to be most valuable.
Walking--A most excellent all-around exercise. The carriage must be upright,--that of a soldier. Lift the chest high, draw in the abdominal muscles, hold the hips well back. Let the arms swing easily by the side. Begin with a moderate pace--three miles an hour. Increase to four or five miles. Nine miles walking daily is none too much for a sedentary man.
Swimming--Every person should learn to swim. Swimming is the finest of all exercises. Every public school should have a swimming tank. Every city should have public baths and swimming pools.
The Out-of-Door Gymnasium--The Open Air Gymnasium is a most important means of promoting health. Exposure of the skin to bright sunlight is essential to health and high resistance to disease. Tuberculosis is a house disease. Disease germs die quickly in the sunshine. A pale skin covers a feeble, sickly body. The “tanning” of the skin is accompanied by a quickening of all the functions and vitalizing of the body cells and structures which fortifies against disease and premature decay. An open-air gymnasium may be cheaply made. It is simply a screened-in place so situated as to permit of exposure of the body to air and light and exercise, with a minimum of clothing. A back yard or a flat roof will afford a good location. A swimming pool is desirable; but a shower bath will answer for cooling the skin or even a pailful of water. Volley ball, pitching quoits, ordinary calisthenics, and especially THE HEALTH LADDER are suitable exercises for the outdoor gymnasium. Exercise with the skin exposed to the air and light is twice as efficient as in the shade.
INCLINED TABLE EXERCISES
Exercises taken in the inclined position with the head low, are especially effective in restoring the prolapsed stomach, colon and other viscera to normal position and counteracting the bad effects of a sedentary life.
An ironing-board may be used, but a table specially constructed for this form of exercises is more convenient. It is supplied with handles near the middle and a strap across one end. It may be used either in the horizontal or the inclined position.
Breathing Exercises.--a. Lying on the inclined table with the head low and the hands at the back of the neck, take a deep breath, lifting the chest as high as possible. Press hard with the hands upon the back of the neck and hold the chest high while breathing out. Breath in while counting 1, 2 in slow march time, and out while counting 3, 4.
b. Lying, head low, on the inclined table, place the hands on the abdomen low down (Fig. 1). Make firm pressure while breathing deep, as in the preceding exercise, and, while breathing out, press the lower edges of the fingers as deep as possible while moving the hands toward the chest. This exercise restores the prolapsed colon, the stomach, kidneys and other displaced organs to their normal positions.
It is a good plan to regulate the exercises by counting, or with instrumental music. The records may be used.
Trunk raising.-- The body is raised to the sitting position, assistance being given by pulling upon the strap (Fig. 2). The trunk raising may be assisted also by grasping the handles at the sides of the table. When the muscles become stronger, this movement may be easily executed without the assistance of the strap. For full exercise of the abdominal muscles, the hands are placed on the hips.
Old Fashioned Exercise.--One of the most imperative calls for exercise is the danger of taking cold. A cold results from a fall in the temperature of the blood. Under normal conditions, the body produces heat at the same rate at which heat is lost. When the heat loss is greater than the heat production, the temperature of the blood will fall. This is a dangerous situation unless promptly remedied. Nature comes to the rescue promptly. Body heat is normally maintained by an automatic muscular action (tonus) which, through constant, is unnoticed, because so slight. When the blood temperature falls, as ordinarily indicated by a chilly feeling, the ever watchful automatic centers set the muscles going in such vigorous fashion that the whole body shakes and shivers.
Shivering is a form of exercise in which every muscle participates. Even the tiny muscles of the skin contract, causing the so-called “goose-flesh” appearance. As soon as the temperature of the blood is restored, the shivering ceases. When one feels inclined to shiver, then he should not resist the tendency, but should encourage it by voluntary shivering, making all the muscles work as hard as possible in imitation of shivering. In this way, the blood will be quickly warmed up and a very unpleasant or even serious experience may be avoided.
If one finds himself in danger of taking a cold, he may avoid the danger by vigorous shivering, not waiting for the warning chill or even chilliness.
When cold in bed, or when riding, one may quickly warm up by shivering. An Arctic traveler recounts that when caught in a blizzard with a temperature of 40 deg. F. below zero, he sat down on a block of ice and “shivered himself warm.”
Vigorous shivering is really violent exercise, and soon sets the heart and lungs going in splendid fashion. For a good shiver, one may either sit, or lie on the back. Begin by throwing back the head, making the back muscles rigid. Now set the lower jaw going as fast as possible. Stretch out one arm and shake vigorously. Repeat with the other arm. Next shiver one leg, then the other. Now set both arms and legs going together, shaking vigorously at about the same rate as in natural shivering. Hold the limbs rigid and make the whole body shake by the violence of the movement. Two or three minutes of vigorous shivering will make you as tired and out of breath as though you had walked at a rapid pace a quarter of a mile.
Stretching.--Stretching is an exercise to be taken on awakening in the morning or after confinement to one position for some time. Dogs, cats, horses, and other animals habitually yawn and stretch on waking after sleep.
Here are a few excellent stretching exercises to be practiced every morning immediately on waking.
1. Lying on the back, raise both arms above the head, stretching as far as possible, throwing the head back, raising the chest and opening the mouth, at the same time taking as deep a breath as possible. Yawn. Breathe out. Repeat 4-6 times.
2. With the left arm at the side, the right arm extended above the head, stretch the right arm upward as far as possible. Stretch the left leg in the opposite direction, with the toe pointed. Raise the chest high. Yawn. Take a deep breath. Repeat with left arm and right leg. Repeat 4 times.
3. Lying on the left side, extend the right arm upward, stretching as far as possible. Stretch the right leg at the same time in the opposite direction, with toe pointed. Take a deep breath. Repeat 4 times. Turn upon the right side and repeat the same exercises with the left arm and leg.
Work Gymnastics.--Housewives may find excellent and improving exercises in the ordinary activities of housekeeping. Such exercises as sweeping, scrubbing, washing, picking up things, mopping, ironing, kneading bread, churning and working butter, and many other forms of housework, are exceedingly good bodily exercise, bringing all the large groups of muscles into play. Scrubbing is a capital exercise for the muscles of the trunk and of benefit in cases in which the abdominal and pelvic organs are displaced downward.
If the housewife will take care to maintain correct carriage of body while going about her varied duties, her work will not only be less tiresome, but may be the means of developing and maintaining a good physique and fine bearing.
The various occupations in which men engage, may likewise be made good gymnastic training if care is taken to preserve a correct poise of the body. Among the many different kinds of work which are specially useful from the standpoint of physical training, may be mentioned sawing, splitting and chopping wood, sowing, hoeing and weeding, turning, black smithing, spading, etc.
Sedentary Exercise.--The man who is sitting at his desk can take exercise, if he will, without interfering with his work. By simply setting the muscles rigid for a minute or two at intervals, they may be given considerable work to do.
One can put all his energy into one set of muscles in trying to put a limb in motion, and all his energy into another set of muscles in trying to hold the limb still. One can make his muscles work just as hard in this kind of exercise as in ordinary work. Set the muscles absolutely rigid, hold them so, and in five minutes you will be perspiring profusely.
A large number of movements of the head, limbs and trunk can be made even by the bed-ridden invalid, by which the benefits of exercise may be secured. Some of THE HEALTH LADDER exercises may be taken in bed.
❦ SPECIAL APPLICATIONS OF THE HEALTH LADDER
Daily climbing THE HEALTH LADDER will not only insure good muscular development, hut will prevent the development of various bodily weaknesses and deformities, such as flat chest, spinal curvatures and deformities, and flat feet, and will promote in a high degree that perfect functioning of all the organs, which is essential for high health. But when deformities and disease have already become established, the full benefits of exercise as a restorative means can he secured only by applying specially appropriate exercises in an intensive way. This THE HEALTH LADDER provides for. Additional help may be obtained by the use of the Auxiliary Exercises.
In the application of the exercises of THE HEALTH LADDER to correction of special conditions, such of the “Ladder” should be repeated several times so as to give the defective muscles a sufficient amount of extra work to insure their development.
Round Shoulders and Flat Chest.--These conditions go together and are the result of weakness of the muscles of the back and a habitual bad posture in sitting. standing, and working and the practice of sleeping, with the head raised high on pillows or bolsters. The chest is flat or hollow because of the excessive posterior curve of the upper spine and forward carriage of the head. Sleeping on the back with a very thin pillow and a firm cushion under the small of the back is most important.
THE HEALTH LADDER is n “setting up” drill calculated to straighten the figure. As soon as the muscles are strong enough the entire series of exercises should he practiced.
Always keep the chest up and the abdominal muscles drawn in when sitting or standing and when at work. Place a cushion at the hollow of the back when sitting.
Lateral curvatures of the Spine.--Slight lateral curvatures really have no influence upon the health, although progressive deviation of the spine in a lateral direction may ultimately produce serious deformity.
Lateral curvatures are for the most part due to pad positions in sitting or working. The muscles of the trunk are usually weak. All exercises which strengthen the muscles of the trunk tend to prevent and cure lateral curvature. The entire series of Rounds should be practiced systematically. The Inclined Table Exercises with the Stretching and Breathing Exercises, may be used with profit. If the curvature is marked, as shown by great unevenness of the shoulders or inequality of the hips, an orthopedist should be consulted.
Prolapsed Stomach and Colon--Floating Kidney.--These conditions are the result of a weak, relaxed condition of the abdominal muscles and a bad sitting posture. They may be largely corrected by the daily practice of The Health Ladder exercised, all of which are helpful. The Legs Raising, Stomach Lifting, and Trunk Raising exercises are especially beneficial.
Stiff back.--Special attention should be given to exercises which stretch the muscles of the back, such as Exercise 1 of Round V, Back Stretching; Exercise 2 of Round VI; Twist Bending; Exercise 1 of Round VIII, Bowing; and Exercise 2 of Round IV, Swaying.
Weak Legs.--Beside the regular practice of the entire series of ladder exercises, extra practice should be given to the following exercises: Running, Knees Raising, Heels Raising, Hopping, Warming Up, Arms-Heels Raising, Deep Knee Bending, and Skipping.
Weak Feet.--The feet tire easily or are painful after standing or walking when the feet muscles are weak. This condition is usually the result of wearing high-heeled shoes, tight shoes, or shoes with flexible shanks. Beside practicing daily the regular series, give extra attention to the following: Heels Raising, Hopping, Warming Up, Arms-Heels Raising, Deep Knee Bending, and Skipping. Weakness of the feet is liable to lead to flat foot. Practice of the exercises recommended for flat foot is the best means of preventing this condition.
Flat Foot.--Practice the following exercises twice daily, preferably with bare feet:
1. Walk with the toes turned in--pigeon toed.
2. Walk on the toes with the heels turned out.
3. Stand with the feet parallel and roll the feet outward, so as to turn the soles of the feet inward.
4. Walk on the outer sides of the feet, the soles turned inward.
5. Walk with the toes flexed--Chinese walk. The Chinese and Japanese are obliged to flex the toes in order to keep their slippers from coming off. It is a good plan to wear Chinese slippers.
6. Climb a ladder, grasping the rounds with the toes.
7. Ascend and descend stairs, wearing Chinese slippers.
To Promote Appetite.--Food is fuel! Appetite is really a demand for fuel to maintain combustions taking place in the body. Muscular exercise is the most efficient means of stimulating the vital fires. The effect produced will depend upon the amount of muscular work done, that is, the number of foot pounds of energy expended.
The most efficient exercises are those requiring the largest expenditure of energy, such as Running, Hopping, Warming Up, Trunk Raising, Deep Knee Bending, and Skipping. Walking, swimming, horseback riding, and exercises in the open air, as in an outdoor gymnasium, with a minimum of clothing, are the most efficient means of stimulating an appetite by increasing a demand for food. Exercises before breakfast, followed by a cold bath, are particularly valuable. If an outdoor gymnasium is not accessible, the exercise may be taken in a cool room with windows open and the bare skin exposed to contact with cool air.
Constipation.--The most useful exercises are those which bring the muscles of the abdomen into strong action. Such exercises stimulate intestinal activity. All THE HEALTH LADDER exercises are useful. Among those which may be emphasized with advantage are Swaying, Cycling, Back Stretching, Stomach Lifting, Trunk Raising, and Bowing. All the Inclined Table exercises are highly valuable.
The intestinal flora must be changed and the diet regulated so as to encourage bowel movement. Write for dietetic suggestions to the Health Extension Bureau, Battle Creek, Mich.
To Aid Liver Action and Digestion.--Exercises which promote deep breathing are especially useful in aiding the stomach and gall bladder in discharging their contents and encouraging the movement of blood through the liver, thus increasing its activity. Practice the entire HEALTH LADDER series twice a day and in addition the Breathing Exercises with the Inclined Table.
To Gain Flesh.--Exercises which create appetite (see above)promote a gain in flesh, provided care is taken to arrange the bill of fare so as to supply the proper articles of food, Meats are not fattening. Milk, cream, butter, potatoes, bread, cereals, dates, figs, raising, are the most fattening foods. The intestinal flora should be changed and the bowels made to move freely (three times a day) by laxative foods. Avoid laxative drugs and mineral waters.
To Reduce Weight.--Exercises which create appetite (see above) will cause a loss of flesh if care is taken to avoid fattening foods and to reduce considerably the amount of food eaten. Butter, cream, potatoes, breadstuffs, sugar and candy should be wholly avoided, or used only in very small quantity. The diet should consist chiefly of coarse vegetables, such as greens, asparagus, lettuce, celery, turnips, carrots, beets, melons, and fresh fruits, with a small allowance of bread, potatoes, eggs, and dairy products. Bran should also be used freely. Floor exercises, particularly, trunk raising and leg raising exercises, are the most useful for reducing excessive abdominal fat. Weigh once a week. If very fleshy, write for special instructions (no charge). Address, Health Extension Bureau, Battle Creek, Mich.
Poor Circulation, Cold Hands and Feet.--Coldness of the extremities is usually the result of an impoverished or poisoned condition of the blood. Active light exercises, especially Flying, Running, Swimming, Hopping, Warming Up, Circling, Deep Knee Bending and Skipping exercises are especially useful.
To Improve the Blood.--A laxative diet, especially the free use of bran and enrichment of the blood by the free use of foods rich in food iron, such as greens, figs, dates, and raising, malt sugar (Maltose-Dextrin), Savita and “ZO,” are means by which, with the daily climb of THE HEALTH LADDER, the quality of the blood may be rapidly improved.
Weak Lungs.--Persons whose lungs remain weak after convalescence from tuberculosis, pneumonia, or influenza, the children of consumptive parents and persons whose lungs have been weakened by much desk work or other sedentary employments, may profit greatly by the intensive use of the Breathing Exercises with the Inclined Table in addition to the daily use of THE HEALTH LADDER. Special emphasis should be given to the following exercises: Flying, Swimming, Circling, Swaying, and Trunk Raising.
Weak Heart.--In cases in which the heart is very weak, no exercises should be undertaken without the advice of a competent physician. When the heart becomes stronger, certain of THE HEALTH LADDER exercises, if used systematically and with gradually increasing vigor, will strengthen the heart, as will be shown by an increase in vigor of the pulse and the disappearance of other symptoms of defective heart action. The best exercises to begin with are Heels Raising, Feet Raising, Arms Heels Raising and Deep Knee Bending.
Low Blood Pressure.--In cases of low blood pressure without disease of the heart, the daily use of THE HEALTH LADDER should have the effect to raise the blood pressure, provided that at the same time the diet is such as to enrich the blood in lime, iron, and other elements necessary for blood and tissue building.
High Blood Pressure.--When active, the muscles are capable of holding one-half of all the blood in the body; hence, activity of the muscles tends to reduce blood pressure by diverting the blood from the internal vessels. Violent exercises such as produce strain, or holding the breath, tend to raise blood pressure. Such exercises should be avoided. Walking at a very moderate rate— 2 ½ or 3 miles an hour, is an excellent exercise for persons with high blood pressure. Stretching and gentle movements of the arms and legs, avoiding strain, are useful. The most suitable exercises to begin with are Heels Raising, Arms Heels Raising, and Deep Knee Bending.
Drowsiness--Mental Torpor.--This is most commonly due to toxins in the blood. The most useful exercises are such as will lessen intestinal toxemia by encouraging bowel action. (See exercises for constipation) All exercises which stimulate the circulation are also found helpful, particularly Breathing Exercises and the following: Flying, Running, Swimming, Warming Up, Circling, Deep Knee Bending, Bowing, and Skipping.
Insomnia.--Inability to sleep is most commonly the result of wrong diet, the use of tea and coffee, late dinners or autointoxication arising from constipation. Errors in diet must be corrected and constipation overcome by proper exercises and laxative foods. Walking a mile or two in the open air at a moderate rate in the evening is a good practice. Rounds 1, 2, 3 and 5 are excellent exercises for inducing sleep.
If the head is hot, a towel wrung out of cold water may be applied to the head, and the blood by be further diverted from the head by heat to the feet and by gentle exercises of the legs in bed, such as flexion and extension of the feet and twisting of the legs.
Neurasthenia.--This common ailment is usually associated with constipation and autointoxication. Exercises for relief of constipation should be employed (See above). Exercises which strengthen the abdominal muscles are also a valuable means of relieving congestion of the viscera. The Inclined Table Exercises are particularly helpful and also Legs Raising, Stomach Lifting, Trunk Raising, and Twist Bending.
Headache.-- Headache is most frequently the result of intestinal toxemia. The intestinal flora should be changed. A non-toxic diet should be employed, that is, meats of all sorts should be excluded from the bill of fare. Exercises recommended for constipation (See above), should be taken after an attack to prevent recurrence.
Asthma.--The systematic practice of the entire series of exercises of THE HEALTH LADDER will be found beneficial in most cases of asthma. In addition, search should be made for sensitization to foodstuffs and other substances and, in chronic cases, special breathing exercises should be practiced.
Rheumatism.--The amount and kind of exercise must depend upon the condition of the patient, particularly upon the degree of impairment of movement of the joints. In acute rheumatism, when movement is painful, the joints must be kept at rest until the acute symptoms have subsided.
In chronic rheumatism, exercise is specially important. If the exercise is properly regulated, the pain felt a the beginning of the movement, gradually disappears as the exercise is continued. Any of the rounds of THE HEALTH LADDER which the rheumatic patient is able to take, will be found helpful. In addition, the intestinal flora must be changed and search made for any source of local infection, such as diseased teeth or tonsils, or an infected condition of the gallbladder, appendicitis, colon or pelvic organs.
Pelvic and Rectal Disease.--The exercises especially useful in these disorders are such as will aid in the replacement of prolapsed or dislocated parts and the draining of surplus blood away from affected organs. The Inclined Table and Stomach Lifting exercises are particularly useful in cases of rectal disease, hemorrhoids, etc. The exercises recommended for constipation should also be employed.
Diabetes.--In this disease, the entire series of Rounds may be employed with advantage, the amount of exercise being adapted to the patient’s strength. Exercise is highly valuable in diabetes as a means of burning up the blood sugar. The special exercises suggested for increasing the appetite will be found useful.
Exercises for children.--Children may take the entire series of exercises with advantage. By the systematic use of THE HEALTH LADDER, children may be so trained from an early age as to secure for them a good physical bearing and correct attitudes in sitting, walking, and working, a matter quite as important as the acquisition of what is commonly known as “a good education.” Children greatly enjoy the exercises and learn them quickly.
Old Persons.--In advanced life, the need for exercise is greater than in early life, but the capacity for exercise is greatly lessened. Slow walking and breathing exercises are of greatest value. Rounds 1, 2, 3, 5 and 8 are most appropriate for elderly persons.
Bed Patients.--Bed patients, when convalescent from operation, “rest cure” patients, and other patients not confined to bed, when not suffering from any acute disease, may practice most of the “Ladder” exercises with great advantage, particularly Swimming, Cycling, Stomach Lifting, Legs Raising and Deep Breathing.
Most of the miseries and maladies associated with our civilized life are the result of unbiological living. A conscientious following of the suggestions offered in this book and the faithful use of THE HEALTH LADDER will insure immunity from a great number of handicaps to mental and physical comfort and efficiency. The more fully and systematically the suggestions made are carried out, the larger will be the returns in health and vigor.
While daily exercise is essential to good health and one of the most efficient means of promoting long life and efficiency, it is not the only essential. Proper diet, mental hygiene, clean and temperate living in all respects, are the conditions necessary for the highest health of mind and body. The author of THE HEALTH LADDER has devoted a long life to an intensive study of the relation of habits to health and longevity and has summarized the results of a lifelong and world-wide search for the right way to live in a brochure entitled The Simple Life in a Nutshell, or Biologic Living, a copy of which will be sent without charge to any purchaser of THE HEALTH LADDER who will send his address to the Health Extension Bureau, Battle Creek, Mich.
1923, Dr. Kellogg/Columbia Graphophone Company