Excerpt from The New Crusade, Vol. 9: March, 1899
Dean of the Woman's Department of the University of Michigan.
A well-poised body conduces not only to health, but it is also essential to physical beauty. The great masses of Americans, young as well as old, stand and sit in wrong postures, and acquire a habit of body that is most detrimental. The shoulders are rounded, head projects forward, the chest is compressed, and the curve at the lower part of the spine is straightened. In my travels in Europe I looked for this attitude, but did nor find it as I do in this country, so I have come to call it the American attitude.
It is a sorry sight to see young people, who should walk with vigor and grace, shambling along with crooked backs and hollow chests and knees that are never fully straightened. Mothers and teachers should know what the normal attitude is, and insist that the children shall maintain it, and then it will be the habit of adults.
In standing, the body is in the proper position when the weight rests principally on the balls of the feet, the heels lightly touching the ground. The knees are held firm by muscular tension; the chest is elevated and thrown forward, and the lower part of the spine thrown backward and held high, while the head is balanced on the top of the spinal column. With the body thus placed, the arms drop at the sides midway between front and back, the space be tween spine and breast-bone is increased, giving more room for the great mass of the lungs, and the breathing muscles are aided in their ceaseless labor.
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