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How To Get And Keep A Good Figure

Sources: A Handbook Of Health

Erect Position is the Result of Vigorous Health. Naturally and

properly, an erect, graceful figure and a good carriage have always been

keenly desired; and much attention has been paid to the best means of

acquiring them; as we say, we try to get the habit of carrying

ourselves straight and well. But it must be remembered that an erect

figure and a good carriage are the results of health and vigor, rather

than the caus
of them.

Stooping, round shoulders, sitting all hunched up, or a shuffling

gait, are owing partly to bad habits, or slouchiness, but chiefly to

weak muscles and a badly-fed nervous system, often due to a poor

digestion and a weak circulation. If a child is not healthy and

vigorous, then no amount of drilling or reminders to sit straight and

stand erect will make him do so.

It is of great importance that the child should take an erect and

correct position for reading and writing, and while sitting at his desk;

and that the desk and the seat should fit him. But it is more important

that he should not sit at his desk in a stuffy room long enough to be

harmed by a cramped position.

There are few children who will hump over at their desks, if the

muscles of their backs and necks are strong and vigorous, and their

brains well ventilated. Nor will many of them bore their noses into

their books, or sprawl all over their copy books when they write, unless

the light is poor, or they have some defect of the eyes which has not

been corrected by proper glasses. A bad position or a bad carriage in a

child is a sign of ill health, and should be treated by the removal of

its cause.

Curvatures--Their Cause and Cure. There are various forms of

curvatures, or bendings, of the spine which are supposed to be owing to

faulty positions of sitting or of carrying the body. There is wide

difference of opinions as to their cause; but this all are agreed on,

that they practically never occur in sturdy, well-grown, active

children; and the way that they are now corrected is by careful systems

of balancing, muscular exercise, open-air life, and abundant feeding,

instead of using steel braces, or jackets, or schoolroom drills.

Much the same is true of other deformities and defects of the body, as,

for instance, round shoulders, or flat-foot, or even such serious ones

as club-foot and bow-legs. Nearly all these are caused by the

weakness or wrong action of some muscle, or groups of muscles. If this

be long continued or neglected, the bones--which, you will remember,

were made by the muscles in the first place--will be warped out of

shape. When this has occurred, it is often necessary to bring back the

limb, or foot, into a nearly straight position by mechanical or surgical

means; but we now largely depend upon muscular exercises combined with

rubbing and massage with the hand, and on building up the general vigor

of the entire body, so that the muscles will pull the limb or the

backbone back into proper position. Take care of the muscles, and the

bones will take care of themselves! Make the body strong, vigorous, and

happy, and it will hold and carry itself.