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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/414

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

tunate state need not arise, if, as a girl, the woman becomes acutely alive to the value of retaining grace (which is entirely practicable), provided nature has endowed her with fairly symmetrical bodily proportions along with accurate instincts as to attitudes (all too rare a gift). More to be welcomed, because thoroughly acquirable by any one, is a wholesome guidance of the growing body and wise instruction in the right standards of breathing, standing and moving. There is an eminently practical value in avoiding this state of acquired awkwardness, which has a direct and important bearing upon health and longevity. It may be permitted to again direct attention to the derangements which follow upon constrained attitudes, habitually maintained, in compressing the chest, hence the lungs, heart and the great organs, and particularly because of the less. obvious, but equal, peril from constriction of important arteries, veins and nerve trunks. It is difficult to convey to the lay mind the gravity of posture deformities, practically the same condition as occupation and costume deformities; the differences being merely of causation and degree. It is quite comprehensible how grave an effect is wrought upon the morphology of the organs, for example, in a miner who assumes various unnatural attitudes demanded by his work, in nooks and crannies of rock. Here he lies or stoops for hours at a stretch, digging laboriously, and in time becomes grossly misshapen. Still he is in constant action and the elasticity of the tissues is not lost so early as in many other occupations where constrained positions are maintained with little change and only such movement demanded as is limited in scope, monotonous and exhausting by endless repetitions. The song of the shirt has brought some phases of the subject to the public attention. Let any one visit large manufactories and he will acquire a vivid object lesson. It will be perhaps more clear to call attention to the deformities of neglect. Unless a child has enjoyed the fullest opportunities for spontaneous activities, numberless small abnormalities will arise and become emphasized. Observe any group of school children critically and there will be readily noted posture deformities in most of them well established and liable to become fixed and exaggerated in later life.

A strong argument for employing a wide variety of bodily movements can be drawn from the fact that man being the only upright mammal, many of his organs assume and are maintained in positions and relationships foreign to their original adaptation. Ages and generations of characteristics acquired in the upright attitude have given him large control over these organs and their supporting tissues have developed admirable adjustments adequate to all ordinary needs and under ordinary requirements. Among the requirements for healthy organic structures is always exercise or use whereby alone function is conserved and organs maintained in normal position and condition.