Have you seen the fool that corrupted his own live body? or the fool that corrupted her own live body?
Most of the diseases arise from too great indulgence of the passions. The man surrounded by plenty or superfluity, and by all the delights of existence, falls in the midst of them.
We enervate ourselves by a soft, inactive, luxurious mode of life—too close rooms by day and night, too little bodily exercise, and that not in the rustic air. Many a lazy fellow, fond of intellectual occupation with physical inaction, has fallen a victim to disordered digestion and crazed nerves.
(A literary figure, the best equipt, keenest mind; only he had an ailing body. Dyspepsia is to be traced in every page. One may include among the lessons of his life how behind the tally of genius and morals stands the stomach, and gives a sort of casting vote.)
No man or woman means to deform or sicken the body, that wonderful and beautiful vessel;
In no age of the world have so many influences been at work, averse to health and to a noble physical development, as are working in this age!
Man should be rightly toned to partake of the universal strength and joy.
This he must do through reason, knowledge and exercise—in short, through training; for that is the sum of all.
A man must become a reasoning and reasonable being—must be willing to follow a certain course, and find his pay for the same; must be willing to place health, sound internal organs, and perfect condition at the head of the list of the objects of his whole life, here on earth.
How cheap is health! how cheap nobility!
Training! The magic word that can remedy all the troubles and accomplish all the wonders of human physique. We would have it a regular and systematic thing through life; not only in young manhood, but in middle age, and in advanced age, also, modified to suit its appropriate requirements, should the course of training be persevered in, without intermission.
We place the greatest reliance upon the forming of the habit.
Exercise and chemical life are never to be baffled, healthy toil and sweat.
Walking, or some form of it, is nature’s great exercise—
So far ahead of all others as to make them of no account in comparison.
Walking is nature’s great physical energy, and, in some form or other, includes the whole expression of life, the passions, and the outshowing of active beauty;
Perfect walking, in man or woman, is a rare accomplishment, more rare than fine dancing, and more desirable than the finest dancing.
There can be no grand physique, for anything, unless it stand well on its legs, and have great locomotive strength and endurance,
Endurance is the main thing—not a splurge at first.
Equally important with that are the diet, drink, habits, sleep, etc.
Eat enough, and when you eat that, stop!
(I was foolish enough to take a good strong drink and eat a couple of slices of rich cake late at night—I shan’t do anything of the kind again.)
The importance of frequent ablutions can scarce be overrated,
The breathing of good air, and certain other requisites, are also not to be overlooked.
Nature surely keeps her choicest blessings for the slumber of health, and nothing short of that can ever know what true sleep is—the healthy sleep—the breathing deep and regular—the unbroken and profound repose—the night as it passes soothing and renewing the whole frame—to spring up in the morning with light feelings, and the disposition to raise the voice in some cheerful song.
Training, however, does not consist in mere exercise.
In its full sense, it involves the entire science of excellence, education, beauty, and vigor, whatever forms the average, strong, complete, sweet-blooded man or woman, the perfect longeve personality, and helps its present life to health and happiness.
Nor is it without intimate bearings upon the moral and intellectual nature.
A certain natural moral goodness is developed in proportion with a sound physical development. We cannot too often and too strongly promulgate the fact of the inevitable and curious conjunction, or rather resultance, of a fine manly moral character, out of a perfect physique.
A true system of training, that which aims to do justice to the complete man and his highest powers (and what other system deserves the name?) will, on no account, ignore the seeds and fruits of a noble moral character.
We mean training in its full sense, thorough and persevering continuance in gently-commenced training, with reference to the establishment of good habits of diet, early rising, early to bed, exercise, plain food, the cultivation with resolute will of a cheerful temper, the society of friends, and a certain number of hours spent every day in regular employment, self-denial, chastity, temperance, abstinence, no falsehood, no gluttony, lust, etc.—or of inculcating the knowledge of them, so that they may be generally diffused.
A steady and agreeable occupation is one of the most potent adjuncts and favorers of health and long life. The idler, without object, without definite direction, is very apt to brood himself into some moral or physical fever—and one is about as bad as the other.
Your own individual case doubtless has points and circumstances which more or less modify all the general laws, and perhaps call for special ones, for yourself.
I have resolved to inaugurate for myself a pure, perfect, sweet, clean-blooded, robust body by ignoring all drinks but water and pure milk, and all fat meats, late suppers—a great body—a purged, cleansed, spiritualised, and invigorated body.
I henceforth tread the world chaste, temperate, an early riser, a steady grower.
NEXT: THE BENEFITS OF HEALTH