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Health and BodyBuilding.

(By Physical Culturist) JV It must he evident to all that for the proper ijerformance of breathing the chest must have free play, and its movements must in no way be unduly restricted or hampered. The evils of tight-lacing have been so much dwelt upon and the folly of it so frequently pointed out, that it will not be necessary here to dilate on it. But it is not by tight-lacing alone that the movements of the chest may be unduly restricted. The ladies must not receive all the censure. Badly - constructed braces, waist-belts fitting too tightly, may interfere with chest expansion. It is surprising how many individuals employ the incorrect method of breathing. If you request one of your friends to take a deep breath, I do not think I would be wrong in saying that nine out out of ten would raise their shoulders and col-lar-bones and project the upper part of their chest and their breast-bone slightly forward, while the lower part of the chest would remain more or less inactive. Now that is not the. natural way to breathe ; if proof of this is wanted watch the sleeping infant and what do you see ? There is no upheaval movement of the shoulders and collar-bones, but there is a backwai'd-and-forward movement of the lower end of the breastbone, an expansion of the lower and middle portions of the chest, and an alternate protrusion and sinking of the wall of the abdomen below. In this abdominal breathing, the lower mnd larger area, of the lungs is used. The ribs that are most movable and elastic are brought into action, and the great diaphragm muscle, pressing ■down, becomes flattened out, thusincreasing the vertical diameter of. the chest, and thus the least muscular efforts produce the most satisfactory result. To illustrate clearly what I mean by abdominal breathing I will give here an exercise strongly advocated by Eustace Miles in his hook on ■’.Breathing for Health.” -’First send the abdomen out and the diaphragm down as you breathe in and up through the nostrils ; then draw the abdomen in and the diaphragm up as you breathe out through the nostrils or the mouth.” Mr Miles has a good deal to say in his book on breathing and the prevention of disease, and I would like to give a. few of his remarks here. Firstly he touches- on constipation— ’’Among the many causes of constipation one is that the organs are in the wrong position, and so are not only squashed down, but also inadequately massaged and exercised. Better breathing will help in these respects, and by its effects in energising the whole system. Moreover, he who excretes many impurities by full breathing out will have have fewer impurities to excrete in other ways, and we must remember how better breathing will warm the body and enable it to cast out many impurities through the skin. Indigestion is another mischief of the day. Better breathing will help to remove it through better emotions, through better positions of the organs, and through the extra oxygen which is necessary if wc wish to assimilate so much food. Then there is the terrible disease of immorality, and, more generally, want of self-control - Take the alcohol habit, for example. Vvhy does the person crave alcohol ? There are many reasons, but the chief seems to be that he has lost his- poise, he has upset his balance somehow, and wishes to restore the poise and balance in the quickest possible way. Now, of all the quick and feasible ways, and at the same time cheap and safe ways, to restore the poise and balance and so prevent disease and dis-ease, and remove temptation’, better breathing Is probably among the best.,” Miss Emil Behuke. one of the best ■authorities on voice production and the physical culture of the chest, ; gives the following simple exercise to increase chest capacity and thereby improve lung condition. Tins exercise is to be taken first thing in the morning, lying flat on the back with only a bolster or pillow under the head. One hand is to be placed' on the waist and the other to lie by the side. Fie comfortably without doing anything, and observe the movements of breathing that are taking place of their own accord. Miss Behuke then says :—“-Proceed to take more breath, exactly on the same lines as the normal breathing. Take a deep, slow, noiseless breath through the nose while you mentally count up to four slowly ; then open

mouth and let the .air out steadily, and slowly while you mentally count live, six, seven, eight. Do this four times in succession, and then rest for a minute, breathing in and out gently in the usual way. Repeat from the beginning three times,, making 12 inspirations in all.” Miss Behuke goes on to say : ‘“lf correctly done the band will always rise in inspiration and fall in expiration. Both inspiration and expiration should be noiseless and without jerks. No more breath should be taken than is Quite comfortable. If you feel that you would strain in the least degree by going on, commence the expiration.. Your capacity will soon increase.”

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Health and Body-Building., Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 21, 7 September 1907

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Health and Body-Building. Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 21, 7 September 1907

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