Friday, September 16, 2011

PHYSICAL TRAINING SIMPLIFIED - The Complete Science of Muscular Development - (circa 1930) - CHAPTER 30 - Part B, END, (LAST CHAPTER), PHYSICAL TRAINING FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE - By Mark H. Berry

Just yesterday, at a meeting of the American Medical Association, Dr. Morris Fishbein, secretary of the Association and editor of "Hygeia" magazine, said prolonged life, that elusive goal of scientists and dreamers for ages, is no nearer at hand today than it was when the quest began. As reported by the Associated Press, the noted physician went on: "The mysterious secret of life, that unknown living force which causes men to survive for three score years and ten, more or less, has been the object of intensive search from almost the beginning of time. Throughout the ages men have craved and sought some miracle that would aid them in living beyond the allotted span, always searching for some elixir of life that would afford them years eternal. Despite all this, and despite the advance in knowledge and improvement in facilities for experiment, we are no nearer the coveted prize than man's earliest ancestor."

He also said, in referring to rejuvenation, through gland transplantation, "Of their claims it can only be said that their work is of scientific interest, but they have not as yet demonstrated that one moment of additional life can be guaranteed to any human being who has submitted to their technique. When the cells of the body disintegrate and die there is no magic potion that can raise them from the dead. A tissue that has died can no more be restored to life than can new elasticity be put into a pair of worn our suspenders or garters."

The above should at least be interesting, and is the opinion of a recognized medical authority of good repute. On the other hand, the average length of life if undoubtedly increasing, due to hygiene and curative science. Fewer deaths are recorded from children's diseases than formerly, and old people have an easier time than in days gone by. Life and conditions of living used to hard on the aged, whereas modern conveniences give them a chance to survive the rigors of weather and climate. This brings us to a peculiar fact, that although the average length of life in America is increasing, and there are more real old people than ever before, it is also true that the death rate for those between 45 and 75 has increased, no doubt due to a certain group of disease conditions, generally referred to as "degenerative diseases." They are thus spoken of presumably because they become of great import in the years of life when the human body is supposed to degenerate; and likewise, because many persons claim, they are the result of the degenerating effect of fast and hard living. This group includes cancer, cerebral hemorrhage, and apoplexy, organic disease of the heart and acute nephritis, and Bright's Disease. Most victims of these diseases are among those of 45 and older, although organic heart disease, acute nephritis, and Bright's Disease cause appreciable mortality among younger persons.

The whole class of illnesses can be caused by some source of infection in the system, as well as from the effects of diseases of childhood, and many also result from an attack of other diseases. What really takes place is that people are cured of one form of disease, which leaves scars on the organs to result in death later in life. However, life is prolonged for a time at least.

We have called attention to the greater number of persons of an advanced age. The potential length of life is not increased, as you will note, among those who survive, but a greater number safely escape the ravages of sickness in one form or another to reach what is now recognized as a natural death. This brings us back to the question of athletes and death. Why do they not survive the ills and weaknesses which claim ordinary people? The trouble with athletes as a class is that they do not consistently take care of themselves, but break training at intervals and dissipate. Moreover, the greatest evil among athletes in general is that of giving up activities and dropping back into the class of ordinary inactive people. Thus they become the prey of disease and death just like ordinary mortals. People with a good potential length of life , that is, those who are born with strong glands and inherit a long life are capable of effectively resisting attacks of disease better than those with a potential short life. That is the real idea or intention we wish to convey in connection with our conclusions about people who mature early and late. Of two men, one of each type, who might have been athletic in early life and retired from strenuous activities, the one who matured late should have the greatest chance of surviving or warding off attacks of degenerative or other diseases.

If a healthful and active life is continued, the athlete has a better than average chance of reaching old age. We see examples of this on every hand. Go down to the rowing clubs along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. There you will find a number of men up to eighty or beyond who row regularly for the sake of health, but more so for the sake of keeping up a hobby. That is why we find a relatively older age among lifters than among general athletics. Because they keep exercising and lifting as a hobby, whereas the athlete who was in strenuous competition at running, ball playing, boxing, etc., quits because he finds it uninteresting to make a hobby of a game wherein he can no longer excel. Good health is encouraged by healthful exercise, but when the athlete quits he discontinues the healthful exercise; and although he may be in better condition than the average person, he leaves himself open to the attacks of disease in one form or another.

Each individual has within him the power to make the most of himself. Even if it is a certainty that one cannot live indefinitely, nevertheless we are certain of being able to increase our efficiency and well being, thus making our years more enjoyable. Furthermore, there is such a close connection between the glands in the body and our state of health and efficiency that there is no sound reason as to why we should not be able to prolong the healthful action of these same glands through accelerating the blood flow by beans of strenuous exercise. It should stand to reason that physical weakness and inactivity result in a drying up of the glands which control our very lives; in fact, we see on every hand examples of this evident drying up and deterioration of the life forces.

We mentioned a few paragraphs back the number of octogenarians to be seen rowing of the Schuykill. The point we wish to bring out here is that these venerable gentlemen have continued to make a hobby of their favorite athletic game. The same is mainly true of weight lifters. Every one should have a hobby, and the human mind thrives best with some hobby to relieve the monotony of the daily existence. An active hobby is of greater benefit than an active one and especially so in the case of the man who was formerly active. The ex-athlete who becomes lazy is too apt to accumulate a lot of fat to burden his internal organs. By making a hobby of his athletic game and continuing active, the hobby also tends to keep him in a state of perfect health. The ex-athlete is too apt to preserve a voracious appetite, even though his system no longer requires an unusual amount of nourishment. This is the greatest fault to be found in the giving up of athletic activities, as very few individuals are able to curb an appetite that has been acquired over a long term of years.

In the field of therapeutic and beneficial exercises, none can compare in effectiveness with progressive bar bell exercise movements. It is being proven every day that men in middle age can improve themselves physically and hundreds of men in their sixties have succeeded in greatly improving their state of health and increasing their physical efficiency. This fact is merely a matter of record and there can be little reason for questioning the statement. We even enrolled a lady of sixty, not so long ago, who felt the need of strenuous exercise of the sort she could get with a bar bell. Not so long afterward, this lady encouraged her son to enroll in a course of bar bell exercise, and from the latest accounts both were making satisfactory progress.

However, the largest bone of contention seems to be over the question of whether or not a man can survive years of strenuous lifting and strength performances. We can therefore do no better than to mention the names of a few American strong men who are still active after spending a long term of years in the sport, the majority of them having spent their lives in the business. Among those who are fifty years of age, are Otto Arco, Arthur Dandurand, Joe Lambert, George Blymire, and Prof. Leo Stevens; Warren L. Travis is fifty-three and looks no more than forty; James B. Juvenal, a former champion oarsman, who trained with bar bells, is fifty-five; another man of the same family name. James M. Juvenal claims to be over seventy, and is still actively travelling as a strong man; he also uses the name of "Tommy Ryan," but must not be confused with the pugilist of that name: Johy Y. Smith is sixty-four and still going strong: Oscar Mathes is sixty-five, and active; Professor P. H. Paulinetti, the greatest of balancing artists, who used to train with weights and was associated with Richard Pennell, and old time strong man, can still give a wonderful performance of head and hand stand work, at sixty-six. Professor Adolph Rhein, of New York, formerly instructor at the German-American A.C. of that city, trains regularly three times a week at Klein's Studio, at the age of sixty-three.

We might further mention a man who recently went back into training after a lay off of years. Mr. Frank Adams, of Philadelphia, used to be quite an athlete as a young man, having been a partner of Professor Wm. Hermann, who now conducts gymnasiums in Philadelphia. Hermann stayed in the business, but Adams quit. Years of inactivity and eating sweets and pastries in excess brought on dropsy; then he woke up at the age of fifty-seven and realized he would have to go back into training. At that time he weighed over two hundred. Now at fifty-nine, he is in the proverbial pink of condition, weighing around one hundred and sixty. I have intended to write and article about this man, but it is too hard to get him to have photographs taken. That is the real trouble with showing middle aged or elderly men who improve through exercise; they think they must compare with youths or they won’t pose for photos. We might mention that Roy L. Smith is around forty-five, and still breaking amateur records, and another figure in the public eye who owes a lot to training with weights is Stanley Zbyzsko, who is fifty. Professor Louis Atilla died at eighty, and was active up to the last, being able to do some of his most difficult feats practically up till the end.

We have mentioned a few strong men who are known to Americans; my poor memory no doubt will cause me to forget some important ones. Over in Europe, the number of middle aged strength athletes is legion, and there have been several instances of European lifting athletes improving in competitive lifting ability past the age of forty. Marius Martin, the French featherweight, set world records and continued to improve to such an extent when past that age he came near winning the Olympic title in 1924. In other branches of sport is it rare for a man to be at his best past the age of thirty, with the exception of wrestling, which is closer akin to lifting.

And then we have the case of Mr. W. P. Chapman, of Bangkok, Siam, which might just have been mentioned in the first chapter, but rightfully belongs among the men of middle age who find benefit in exercising regularly in a strenuous manner. Mr. Chapman is now 48 years of age, and did not take up exercise till the age of 35, at which time he weighed 85 pounds and suffered greatly from ill health in various forms. He even goes so far as to say he had not known a day of good health from the time of his birth until he took up strenuous physical exercise. Since starting in 1916 he has not experienced a single day of illness. As he says, "Today my strength and development still increase so much that I feel better off, physically and mentally, than I was twenty five years ago. My weight stripped is now 147 pounds, and my height is 5 feet, 3 inches.

It is hardly to be expected that the average individual who takes up physical culture will increase in the same proportions as did Mr. Chapman. Still, his case is not altogether unusual, as we are publishing photos of Mr. David Myshne who increased his bodyweight from 93 to 148, after he had reached the mature age of 21, and Albert Manger, who doubled his bodyweight. We have on record other cases of quite as startling. Mr. Chapman gained approximately 75% while the average physical culturist who is undeveloped and underweight would be highly pleased to gain 25%, while many a man who is evidently in fair condition will make a wonderful improvement in development if 15% is added to his frame.

Before closing, we wish to mention our belief that fewer people of middle age appear broken down and aged today than at any time in the history of the world. Although science has found no means of actually adding to the potential length of life, hygiene and better living conditions have combined to prolong youth and make people of forty to seventy more active, youthful, and useful than was true in the past. It used to be common for people of forty and fifty to be considered old and aged because of their dried up appearance and generally feeble condition. Nowadays the majority of people of forty to fifty do not look old, and many sixty and seventy-year old people actually appear younger than their years would apply. Physical culture propaganda has contributed greatly to this result, and we know of so many cases in proof of our contention that there can be no doubt as to the benefits to be derived from a healthful, active life.

If you are interested in a future life of health and usefulness, make up your mind to be a physical culturist for the rest of your life. You will have a far better chance of escaping disease and an early death, and each of your years will be full of health and activity.


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Bob Whelan

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