Weird Universe

Exercise and Fitness

Cheerleader drops dead after team loses

1953: Diane Rinkes, 15-year-old cheerleader for East Lansing high school in Michigan, gave it her all for her team, but it wasn't enough. Her team lost, and then she dropped dead.

When I first read this story, I assumed that there must have been some kind of underlying medical condition that caused her death. 15-year-old girls don't simply drop dead for no reason.

But in a follow-up report it says that the Coroner diagnosed the cause of death as "acute shock and acute circulatory collapse... brought on by overexertion." He elaborated that Rinkes worked herself up into such a "tremendous pitch of excitement during the football game" that it caused her death.

So she died of over-excitement. You have to wonder if she would have lived if her team had won.

The Anniston Star - Sep 25, 1953

The Holland Evening Sentinel - Sep 25, 1953

Posted By: Alex | Date: Wed Sep 30, 2015 | Comments (5)
Category: Death, Exercise and Fitness, 1950's

Unfit Bits

Tega Brain and Surya Mattu have come up with an "art project" (Unfit Bits) that gives people practical tips on how to cheat fitness trackers, such as the Fitbit. Why would you want to cheat a fitness tracker? Perhaps because your employer is offering a financial incentive to wear the tracker and is then monitoring your data and sharing that data with an insurance company. So screw them. Take their money and supply them with a stream of bogus data.

The cheat methods are as easy as tying the tracker to a pendulum or to the branch of a tree, to make it think you're walking around when you're really slouching in front of the TV. Notes Mattu, "We’re putting this kind of trust into devices that are very simple. Unfit Bits shows how silly the data is from these kinds of sensors." More info at

Unfit Bits from Surya Mattu on Vimeo.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Wed Sep 23, 2015 | Comments (9)
Category: Art, Exercise and Fitness, Technology

To All Things Moderation

Good news fellow couch potatoes! Long distance, strenuous joggers have the same mortality rate as sedentary people. On the other hand, the Danish study says moderate jogging does improve the mortality rate. Mmm danish...
Posted By: patty | Date: Tue Feb 03, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Death, Exercise and Fitness

Rolling to Reduce

Weight reduction advice from 1918. Original article here (pdf).

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Jan 18, 2015 | Comments (2)
Category: Exercise and Fitness, 1910's

Beer Mile World Record

Runners World reports that Chris Kimbrough, a 44-year old mother of six, has "shattered the women's beer mile world record." She did this by running four laps, and drinking four beers, in 6:28.6, beating the previous record by 13 seconds. In a previous age, I suppose, this might have qualified her as "beer honorable."

I find her achievement quite inspirational. Makes me think I should start exercising more (especially if that involves a beer-exercise combo).

Posted By: Alex | Date: Fri Nov 07, 2014 | Comments (5)
Category: Exercise and Fitness, Sports, World Records

Facial Fitness Pao

Another strange invention from Japan. This one is designed to exercise your facial muscles. Just hold it in your mouth and swing the bars up and down.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Aug 23, 2014 | Comments (6)
Category: Exercise and Fitness, Inventions

No More Cartwheels

Diane "DD" Barker, age 65, has been ordered to stop doing cartwheels and splits when she addresses Maricopa County officials at city council meetings. Barker says that it's just her form of personal expression and is a way to show the benefits of exercise. But the city council says it's within its rights to "impose reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on speakers."

Posted By: Alex | Date: Mon Jun 09, 2014 | Comments (7)
Category: Exercise and Fitness

Three Decades of Slimming

Posted By: Paul | Date: Fri Mar 14, 2014 | Comments (5)
Category: Exercise and Fitness, Food, Self-help Schemes, 1930's, 1940's, 1950's

Exercise in the Bathroom

This book will teach you how. Available on Amazon.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Mon Dec 02, 2013 | Comments (3)
Category: Exercise and Fitness, Excrement

Glorify Yourself

According to Hollywood "figure experts" back in 1939, this one exercise would have any woman looking like a starlet in no time:

"Sit or stand erect with arms up — elbows bent, hands in front of you at chest level with fingertips touching. Now, without putting any strain on muscles of the arms, lightly press fingertips together. When you are doing this correctly, you can see the pectoral muscles expand with pressure of fingertips against fingertips. Do the exercise 40 times a minute for two minutes every day. At the end of two months, according to Mr. Davies, you no longer will be flat-chested." [Pittsburgh Press - Apr 6, 1939]
Posted By: Alex | Date: Fri Oct 11, 2013 | Comments (7)
Category: Exercise and Fitness, 1930's
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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.