THE MORNING TUB.
This, although not quite coming under the head ing of training, is relevant to it, as it has a great deal to do with the general condition and fitness of athletes and those who do not indulge in the sport of swimming. It is at one and the same time one of the most beneficial practices, and yet the one topic connected with water that is fre quently overrated and abused, not only by the general public, but even by athletes themselves. One often hears the expressions from a devotee of the morning tub that he never has a cold, be lieving this it the cause of his normal immunity from this mild, yet often distressing malady.
This question is more significant than a casual reflection conveys. The morning tub does not necessarily prevent even the milder form of cold; if so, then the writer should have been free from this form of fever for the last fifteen years. The fact remains that I have had very severe colds, which, to some extent, explodes this absurd fal lacy. I quite believe the morning tub prevents severe chills to the system, if the bath is taken under proper conditions, which is the crux of the whole question. The advisability, or inadvisabil ity, of taking the morning tub depends on the general health of the subject, and whether man, woman or child, as the following brief digest, after fifteen years' experience in temperate, trop ical and cold climates, will prove.
In the case of young people in good health, pos sessing a strong heart and good circulation, they should enjoy their morning tub with water at 65 degrees, or even as low as 50 degrees, but should on no account take it at these low temperatures right off, but by working up to this stage by a long and gradual process from water giving 70 degrees or even 75 degrees. In this way begin ners will get to a stage which suits their general condition best, and when that is reached it should be adhered to. I know there are many who like to feel a sudden shock to the system, when the same causes a sharp breath to be taken, which shows that nature resents this ill-treatment of its system. In fact, if you did the same with an ordinary iron kettle it would snap or break, due to unequal contraction of the metal, which is exactly what is in reality taking place with the heart. The rush of blood from the head is too sudden, momentarily overloading the heart, which, if weak or defective, would break or become per manently injured. This is not quite the expres sion of a doctor, but it serves to illustrate the point, i. e., not to throw any unnecessary strain or load on the heart. There is just as much danger attached to overdoing this in a hot climate as there is in a cold one, in fact, in some cases, more so, as the 'system is liable to become more relaxed, consequently has less vitality to stand the strain. When the cold tub leaves an afterglow
and gives a general feeling of brightness, it may generally be accepted it agrees with the subject. In many cases I do not think it is quite a safe thing to stand in cold water during the very cold weather, or when the thermometer is anything below zero. Let the hot water run for a few min utes, then turn on the cold, in order that the feet are not immediately placed in cold water. Let the cold water run after this, sponging and rub bing yourself all over with it quickly, never stay ing in the bath more than a minute or so, remem bering it is intended to act as a tonic, not as a soap and hot water toilet. Many people taking their morning tub lose the real benefit in skimping the use of a rough Turkish towel. This is the most beneficial part of the tub, and more likely to promote good circulation and healthy state of the pores than the bath itself. After promoting cir culation with the towel one feels fit for anything, and the world has a bright aspect, although it may be broiling hot, snowing, or raining cats and dogs. To the business man it is more than medi cine or tonics, and, followed, by a brisk walk, will brace him up to overcome the burdens of the day, and give him far better spirits than the man driven to business in his carriage or automobile.
To those who cannot take a cold tub, the tepid or warm bath is the next best thing, and this may be taken at anything between 70 and 75 degrees, using the loofah, or sana brush, which is prefer able to the sponge, as the friction causes a pleas ant glow. Following this, five or six minutes should be spared for the towel, which is a simple means of exercise fInd healthy friction at the same time. The air in the bathroom should be changed by the window being slightly opened after the bath, when long and deep breathing should be in dulged in, during the finishing of the tub up to completing the morning toilet. In this way even delicate persons can build up a truly wonderful pitch of fitness.
In all cases of heart disease consult a doctor, and never take the tub unattended. Serious re sults have often followed this unwise practice. In the case of children it will be wise to commence with the water quite warm. On no account should they be put into cold water, the shock being too severe. It engenders a fear of cold water which sometimes remains with them until quite grown up. There are many details omitted, but from the foregoing it will be seen there are certain common sense rules governing this often neglected and overrated question.