HOW WATER GYMNASTICS AID THE CRIPPLED OR PARALYZED
Swimming is for many reasons one of the best exercises known. It is especially good for weak and underdeveloped people because the buoyancy of the water supports the limbs and allows free movements in all directions. Thus muscles can be trained in any desired manner, and muscles which are not used in ordinary movements can be brought into play in the water and developed.
President Roosevelt’s much described and photographed swimming exercises at Warm Springs, Ga., indicate its usefulness in giving exercise to a victim of infantile paralysis.
Nothing is so deceptive as exercise in the water. The sense of lightness due to the buoyancy of the water, just mentioned, makes the swimmer feel that little effort is being exerted. Hence a person may stay in the water swimming or diving for hours without feeling much fatigue and be surprised after the swim is all over to feel more tired than when apparently much more strenuous exercise has been taken.
There is a danger in this feature when invalids or underdeveloped children are swimming to regain strength or to aid convalescence. They may very easily overdo and find themselves worse off than before. Strict attention should be kept on the time such individuals are in the water, and no matter how well or how fresh they feel, they should be warned to desist when the time limit is up.
Gymnastics in the water for crippled or paralyzed patients is one of the best forms of treatment. The use of water gymnastics for children with infantile paralysis in order to restore the affected muscles, is one of the best methods we have.
A warning, however, against the indiscriminate use of this method should be sounded. The direction must be in the hands of experienced instructors or the method will do more harm than good. “Muscle re-education under water is not swimming,” says a distinguished authority on the subject.
Unless the instructor knows exactly how to exercise or re-educate the paralyzed muscles, the exercise may really strengthen the unparalyzed muscles. These, being opposed to the paralyzed muscles, cause a stronger pull than ever on the limb in the wrong direction.
Properly supervised, however, underwater gymnastics are splendid additions to the treatment of many muscular and nervous diseases.
How “WARMING Up” PROCESS AIDS EFFICIENCY OF PLAYER
A crisis is at hand. The gent called “Lefty” has presented the opponents with two bases on balls in succession.
The manager motions to the singularly handsome young gentle-man at his side, who proceeds to go up against the fence and fling ball after ball to his catching partner. A new pitcher is “warming up.”
You go out on the tennis court and your opponent says, “Want to warm up a little first?” You do, and proceed to whack the ball around for five minutes before you really get down to playing.
Or at golf you swing a dozen times, to the destruction of the dandelions, before you drive your first one.
Is there anything to it? Does the process of warming up really do any good?
I have been studying muscles lately in the laboratory, and the answer is, “Yes, it really does.”
The physiologists say that the process of warming up does two thingsone is to increase the acuity of the muscle sense and stabilize the nervous processes. The second is to augment the frequency and force of the contractions of the heart, thereby enhancing the circulation of the blood in the muscles.
When you are stale from lack of exercise, you cannot perform even a moderate stint of muscular effort without symptoms of breathlessness. The condition, however, may be overcome with physical training. Provided a person is otherwise healthy, great improvement will be noted from day to day as the heart adapts itself to the more and more vigorous work.
Not only the heart, but the respiration. As the pitcher warms up he breathes more rapidly and deeply, and the gases which are needed by the tissues are thrown into the circulation. The increased demands made on the heart find a response, and in a few minutes the circulation is prepared to respond to extraordinary demands.
Even the preliminary process of warming up may not be sufficient to meet all the demands. Thus the golfer finds at about the fifth hole that he is getting steadier and that his game is improving. The tennis game during the second set is faster and harder than during the first. A newcomer who entered the game then would be badly outclassed. The other players have timed their hearts so that the muscles get a good supply of blood, as well as having the waste products promptly carried away. The muscles, therefore, respond more promptly and accurately.