Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/161

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ATHLETICS FOR CITY GIRLS.

session the maximum of properly arranged exercise in the minimum of time.

First of all, every out-of-door sport that she can suitably undertake should be open to her, both in the sense of opportunity and also in that of consenting public opinion. The only two sports that are practicable during any considerable part of the city season are tennis and bicycling, for rowing is limited to too short a season to be considered, and riding is by reason of expense not open to the general public. As regards tennis, she is already possessor of the game so far as knowledge and public opinion are concerned, and, although objections have been raised to it on the score of its being too violent exercise, there appears to be nothing essential to the game which a healthy young woman may not engage in, if she is properly dressed. A girl who is delicate or who has any organic disorder should certainly consult her medical adviser before playing any very active game, but these exceptions should not be allowed to rule the game out for the large class of girls who are physically qualified to enjoy and profit by it. The old rule of moderation in all things must obtain in this exercise as elsewhere.

The mention of the bicycle for women opens a field of mild controversy which is only important because some of the objections to its use are taken from the hygienic standpoint as well as from the social. Many objectors contend that the wheel is as undesirable for women as the sewing machine, while the majority of parents seriously object to what they feel to be the unpleasant publicity of the exercise. As a matter of health, which is of the first importance, the writer has made many inquiries among women who use the wheel regarding the effects of the exercise upon them, and has failed to discover a single case of injury or poor health resulting from its use. On the contrary, the testimony to its exhilarating and healthful effect is universal. Several other American physicians, qualified to speak from experience in their practice among women, have warmly commended its use. From the standpoint of a symmetrical exercise, the position is preferable to that on a horse. The movement is unlike that of the sewing machine in several important respects: Instead of being bowed over in a cramped position which restricts the action of lungs, digestive and pelvic organs alike, the woman rider sits erect, with full opportunity for chest expansion, while the difference between the environment of the sewing woman and the riding woman as regards indoor and out-of-door life is most important.

The bicycle is one of the few out-of-door sports open to the average woman by reason of its convenience, comparative inexpensiveness, and pleasure; and if it need not be ruled out from