FITNESS (CONT.): THE FORWARD LOOK
Bonnie Prudden's articles on physical fitness are terrific (U.S. Fitness: 1957, SI, Aug. 5 et seq.)! I am looking forward to new vitality, a new figure and the next issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.
Grand Rapids, Mich.
FITNESS (CONT.): WOW!
I am following Bonnie Prudden's exercises each week and feeling a lot better for it, but I cannot interest my husband in the exercises. Each week he looks at Miss Prudden and says "Wow!" but he does not get out of his chair. My consolation is that if all goes well in a few weeks he will be saying "Wow!" at me. Long live Bonnie.
FITNESS (CONT.): PRENATAL CARE
Are there any exercises dangerous or not suggested for normal pregnancies? Until what month can they be continued?
MRS. CHARLES E. DAVIS
Fort Bragg, N.C.
•The importance of prenatal exercises to insure adequate strength, muscle tone and flexibility, as well as the ability to relax, is being increasingly stressed by many physicians. Bonnie Prudden has given exercises to mothers through their entire pregnancy, albeit always gently and with moderation. However, Miss Prudden advises each mother-to-be to consult with her own physician.—ED.
September 8, 1957
FITNESS (CONT.): MRS. OTIS REGRETS
After looking at the charts for spot reduction (SI, Aug. 5) I find no exercise for one of my bugaboos. The area is the "flab" or squeezed fat that appears over the back of a strapless dress. I think it is a repulsive sight; could you include an exercise that would remove the bulges?
MARGARET M. OTIS
Yuba City, Calif.
•Bonnie Prudden recommends that Mrs. Otis use the torso twist pictured in the August 26 issue and also remember to try to cut down on her calories.—ED.
FITNESS (CONT.): PER ARDUA EX SOLUS
I am 5 feet 4¾ inches and weigh 214 pounds. I am struggling with exercises Nos. 2 and 3. Believe me, I cannot get off the floor. Do you think if I keep trying I will be able to? I want to so badly.
MRS. ISABEL PASSARELLA
•Yes, indeed, says Bonnie Prudden, but until it becomes easy try the sit-ups with your arms crossed in front.—ED.
FITNESS (CONT.): LOOK OUT BELOW
I have been following Bonnie Prudden's exercises weekly and my father has been following them too.
I have heard it is good to pound your legs on the floor. I have also heard it isn't good as it would break the blood vessels. I would like your advice about this exercise.
MARY SOU BLAKELY
•Miss Prudden, who in a later issue will present exercises for the thigh, says to go ahead and pound those legs.—ED.
FITNESS (CONT.): LONG, LONG TRAIL A-WINDING
My husband has subscribed to your magazine since its beginning, but I have never seen anything in it. Now that he makes me do the Prudden exercises every day with him I like your magazine even less. How much longer does his subscription run?
MRS. HENRY COHN
•About eight months—long enough, we hope, to convert you.—ED.
FITNESS (CONT.): WALK, DON'T RUN
I hate exercise. Last week I ran to catch a streetcar. It said "Silver Streak" on the side. I was sick all day. I have learned my lesson and will never exercise again.
RODNEY D. BENNETT JR.
FITNESS (CONT.): HEAR, HEAR
I'd like to second Mrs. Hilde Raff's suggestion to make Bonnie Prudden Woman of the Year (SI, 19TH HOLE, Aug. 19).
MRS. E. CLARK SHAFFER
FITNESS (CONT.): TESTING, TESTING
Your excellent article on physical fitness leaves just one question—where can I obtain a Kraus-Weber physical fitness test with the intention of initiating a physical fitness program in my community?
EDWARD W. HARRIS JR.
I am a teacher of physical education at the high school in Stratford, Wis.; I wish to obtain a copy of the Kraus-Weber fitness test for administration to my students.
Both my wife and I are teachers and are interested in the Kraus-Weber test and how to administer it.
FORREST B. COULTER
•Bonnie Prudden's book Basic Exercises No. 1 gives explicit directions for the administration of the Kraus-Weber test for minimum physical fitness. The book may be obtained by sending $2.18 to the Institute for Physical Fitness, Inc., 5 Hillside Avenue, White Plains, N.Y.—ED.
FITNESS (CONT.): I OBJECT
I would like the opportunity to sound a voice of dissent. The first and most neglected question is: physically fit? Fit for what? All too often the proponents of fitness seem to mean, "fit to look, perform and test as much like our envisioned, hypothetical ideal as is possible." The answer must be couched somewhat in this form: fit specifically for the work we do and generally for the lives we live.
Look at our desired goal. Imagine the physically fit specimen as pictured in the minds of the Pruddens, the Neales, the Kellys and MacCarthys. Take our all-American boy and stand him at a drafting board for seven hours a day, for five days each week. Bend him over in the forward, close concentration of his work, executing small finger movements. Is he comfortable? Is he work-adapted? Is he physically fit for his work? At the very least, I think, a qualified observer would have to give a qualified and cautious answer.
What about health? What about the enrichment of life through recreation? What about the needs of the nation? All right, what about them?
In the case of health, let's look at the facts. There is as yet, to my knowledge, no suitable evidence, acceptable in all respects, that will even tend to demonstrate with any surety that deviations of posture, tone, strength or flexibility falling within the hypothetical range of "normal deviation" are detrimental to health, well-being or longevity.
And what of the enrichments of recreation? Making opportunities for instruction in skills available to all and developing properly supervised facilities are probably important and desirable goals. But does everyone need the physical fitness standards of a tennis player? Of a field archer? Of a small-boat sailor? Of a chess player? Of a backyard gardener? It seems somehow wrong to set similar standards for all.
The great final defense of the fitness cult is national need. The nation's strength is the strength and fitness of its youth. Nothing could really be farther from the truth. National strength in time of war seems to rest on a great many things that transcend muscle strength. Power today rests in minds, in motives, in organization and above all in technology.
Finally, what of our tests and measures? Brilliant, sincere and devoted men, Harrison Clarke, T. K. Cureton, Dr. Kraus, Peter Karpovitch and numerous more, are pioneering the way to quantification. But sadly how often they, or their interpreters, become lost outside the confines of the laboratory. The monumental Physical Fitness Index [see letter from Dr. Rogers, below] still measures only one thing: your ability to perform the tasks involved in the Physical Fitness Index test. The great Kraus-Weber test of recent hysterical fame, for all its intended usefulness, can be demolished by one question, neither cynical nor empty nor unfair. "So what?" What does it really tell that is important for fitting the individual to his life?
To state a positive and more suitable program is not the purpose of this present letter. I would only ask that we find out what kind of help people need to become fit and keep fit for their jobs and their lives. I object to the pursuance of abstract, generalized, nonapplicable standards.
LAWRENCE F. LOCKE
FITNESS (CONT.): SOUND THE TOXIN
As National Director for Health and Physical Education of the U.S. YMCAs I could use for distribution in my national Newsletter 1,500 copies of A Measure of Fitness by Dorothy Stull and the State-by-State Report (SI, Aug. 5).
H. T. FRIEBMOOD
•Requests have been received for more than 10,000 reprints of these two articles. They are now available at cost ($10 per hundred: $72 per thousand) in booklet form. Requests should be sent to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, 9 Rockefeller Plaza, New York 20.—ED.
FITNESS (CONT.): MENS SANA AND ALL THAT
Your otherwise excellent article by Dorothy Stull, A Measure of Fitness, included a greatly misleading paragraph. I hope your sense of fair play as well as your interest in American physical fitness will encourage you to publish this correcting letter.
The paragraph in question states that "Rogers' Law—a mathematical formula equating achievement on the Rogers' Physical Fitness Index with ability to learn anything (including Greek and calculus)" is so absurd that "most educators...charitably ignore" it.
To appreciate how greatly misleading all this is, one needs but to know this law, even in its most popular statement: General learning potential is about twice as dependent upon physical fitness as upon intelligence. Thus this law does not, by any stretch of imagination, state or even imply that physical fitness alone is equated with "ability to learn anything" to say naught of "Greek or calculus." Actually, the law "merely"—but for the first time in modern pedagogy—joins physical and mental powers and insists both are necessary for any learning: "Man is a unit and can't be divided," Mens sana in cor pore sano, and all that.
FREDERICK RAND ROGERS
•SPORTS ILLUSTRATED agrees that Dr. Rogers' Physical Fitness Index is a good test, although like other fitness tests it has its faults and its critics. However, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED takes issue with Dr. Rogers' claim that physical fitness has any correlation with the ability to learn academic subjects, a premise which Dr. Rogers' law clearly supports.—ED.