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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/258

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

cular system one not only adds to girth of trunk and limbs, and consequently to weight as seen in the physical condition of the 300 strong men in Group 5, but increases the functional power of heart, lungs, stomach and viscera—and consequently favors the nutrition and recuperation of the brain itself. If to intense or prolonged mental application are added worry, anxiety, fear of failure, loss of sleep, or great emotional strain—then mental work soon becomes exhausting. Add to prolonged physical effort the same kind of mental and emotional harrassments, and we soon have in the individual or athletic team a temporary state of physical and mental impairment which is familiarly attributed to "over-training." No one symptom is more indicative of this approaching collapse than loss of weight, and on the other hand no physical sign presages a return to bodily and mental efficiency more unerringly than a return to normal weight. Normal weight for the average student is about 2.05 pounds for every inch in height, for the university crews 2.17 and for the football teams and strong men 2.20. The army standard during the civil war was 2 pounds to the inch for the soldier of medium height.

The Harvard scholarship men range in weight from 1.87 in the lowest group to 1.99 in the highest. These chronic conditions of underweight on the part of the scholarship men are, in my opinion, largely due to excessive mental activity, accompanied in many cases by nervous anxiety and perpetual worry for fear that they will not come up to the desired standard and fail to receive honors or lose their scholarship stipend. Judicious physical exercise, out-of-door games and recreations, mingled freely with innocent social amusements, all tend to relieve this state of nervous tension and malnutrition, as many a hard-worked student knows from experience. The physical superiority of the honor scholarship men over the stipend scholarship men may be largely attributed to the fact that they do devote more time and attention to the care of their physique. When the stipend scholarship men are asked why they do not give more attention to their health and the upbuilding of their bodies, the almost invariable answer is: "We have no time for it," or words to that effect. In many cases this is literally true, as there are scholarship men at Harvard who have to do a considerable amount of outside work in addition to their college work in order to earn money enough to meet their expenses. But in the great majority of cases the answer of "no time" means that these men do not regard health and physical vigor of sufficient importance to work for it; or if they do, they fear that while they are taking time for improving their bodies, their nearest rivals are at the everlasting grind that will give them possession of the much-coveted scholarships. Some of the results are shown in the table to which we have referred. Here is an anomalous condition.

According to our records the physique of athletes and the average