The Benefits of Health

The results of properly chosen and well-continued courses of training are so valuable and so numerous that in mentioning them we would seem to be mentioning most of the precious treasures of character—among the rest may be specified courage, quickness of all the perceptions, full use of power, independence, fortitude, good nature, a hopeful and sunny temper, an industrious disposition, temperance in all the alimentative appetites, chastity, an aversion to artificial indulgences, easy manners without affectation, personal magnetism, a certain silent eloquence of expression, and a general tendency to the wholesome virtues and to that moral uprightness which arises out of and is the counterpart to the physical.

Do you not see how it would serve to have eyes, blood, complexion, clean and sweet? To walk with erect carriage, a step springy and elastic—to feel a pleasure in going forth into the open air, and in breathing it—to sit down to your food with a keen relish for it—to be buoyant in all your limbs and movements by the curious result of perfect digestion, (a feeling as if you could almost fly, you are so light)—to have perfect command of your arms, legs, etc., able to strike out, if occasion demand, or to walk long distances, or to endure great labor without exhaustion.
Indeed, merely to move is then a happiness, a pleasure,
To breathe, to eat and drink the simplest food, outvie the most costly of previous enjoyments.

With perfect health, (and regular agreeable occupation,) there are no low spirits, and cannot be.
The observance of the laws of manly training, duly followed, can utterly rout and do away with the curse of a depressed mind, revolutionize life, and change it from a scene of gloom, feebleness, and irresolution, into life indeed, as becomes such a universe as this, full of all the essential means of happiness, full of well-intentioned and affectionate men and women, with the beneficent processes of nature always at work, with all else that is wanted.

All other goods of existence would hardly be goods, in comparison with reckless health, a perfect body, perfect blood—no morbid humors, no weakness, no impotency or deficiency or bad stuff in him; but all running over with animation and ardor, all marked by herculean strength, suppleness, a clear complexion, and the rich results (which follow such causes) of a laughing voice, a merry song morn and night, a sparkling eye, and an ever-happy soul!

Do you not see how it would serve to have such a body and soul that when you enter the crowd an atmosphere of desire and command enters with you, and everyone is impress’d with your personality?
You may so heighten your personality by temperance, by a clean and powerful physique, by elevating the mind through lofty discussions and meditations, and by self-esteem and divine love, that you can hardly go into a room or along the street, but an atmosphere of command and fascination shall exhale out of you upon all you meet.

There can be no gratification or pleasure, however costly, however much vaunted or rare, that is equal to the delicious feeling, all through middle-age, and even old age, of being perfectly well,
To have year after year pass on and on, and still the same calm and equable state of all the organs, and of the temper and mentality—no wrenching pains of the nerves or joints—no pangs, returning again and again, through the sensitive head, or any of its parts,
To find life one long holiday, labor a pleasure, the body a heaven, the earth a paradise, all the commonest habits ministering to delight—
A singular charm, more than beauty, flickers out of, and over, the face—a curious transparency beams in the eyes—he sees new eligibilities and powers everywhere; his faculties, his eyesight, his hearing, all acquire superior capacity to give him pleasure.

To have this continued year after year, and old age even, when it arrives, bringing no change to the capacity for a high state of manly enjoyment—these are what we would put before you, reader, as a true picture and the main object which every youth should have, in the beginning, from the time he starts out to reason and judge for himself.

There is attainable a high flush condition of stamina, strength, vigor, personality, clearness, and manly beauty and love-power, thoroughly sustained many years, in perfect specimens of trained health, through middle and old age, towering in its ripeness and completeness, till it rivals and fully equals the best and handsomest specimens of early manhood—and indeed transcends them!

With sweet and lusty flesh clear of taint,
Tann’d in the face by shining suns and blowing winds,
Majestic faces, clear eyes, litheness, and perfect physique,
Their pose brawny and supple, their drink water, their blood sweet, clean and clear,
They shall be complete women and men—completer than any yet.