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Physical Training For Boys

( Originally Published Early 1900's )


WE need no statistics to prove that never in the world's history has there been a greater need of strong, vigorous men; nor has there been a time when the mode of living had a greater tendency toward the degeneration and decadence of health. This age of rapid transit and living fast in the crowded cities calls loudly for a mode of life that shall counter-act the baneful tendencies of this great expenditure of neural force.

The relation of gymnastic exercise to the neuro-muscular requirements of the present-day conditions of life will be made clear if we consider briefly the object of proper exercise.

Proper exercise will train the muscles to obey promptly the dictates of the will. This is important, as almost one-half of the entire weight of the body is muscle, and the muscles are the only organs under the control of the will. The development of huge muscles and great strength, however, is wasted energy.

Proper exercise will increase the functional activity of the heart, lungs, digestive and excretory organs, and the life growth and function of the cells, and so increase the nutrition, furnish more oxygen, and free the system of poisonous waste products. It prevents the inroad of disease by maintaining a vigorous, healthful body that will at the crisis resist the onset of disease germs.

It will overcome bodily deformities and defects which are the result of nearly every occupation. It will also develop in-valuable moral and mental qualities as nothing else will.

The deleterious influence of the complicated city life, with all but a few hours of each day spent indoors without proper exercise, brings about ill health and nervous break-downs that can only be avoided by obeying the laws of health.

Exercise will surely be beneficial to you if you take the work regularly and observe the following suggestions :

1. Get a medical and physical examination to find out what exercises are best suited to your needs. Follow out your prescription.

2. Join one of the classes and be regular in your attendance.

3. Observe the rules for bathing.

4. Avoid over-exercising. Stop before becoming very tired.

5. Do not start in too vigorously. If you get stiff and sore continue your exercise and the stiffness and soreness will soon disappear.

6. To avoid soreness, if not accustomed to exercise, take light work for fifteen or twenty minutes and do not stand around after exercising or bathing. Gradually increase the amount of exercise.

7. Practise deep breathing in the open air, breathing through the nostrils.

8. Eat moderately of plain food, using a mixed diet, especially of fruit and grain. Observe the hints on diet and avoid the foods that are hard to digest.

9. Rest is as important to health and vigor as exercise and food. Sleep in a well ventilated room on a hard bed, using light coverings, and get from seven to nine hours' sleep.

10. Drink plenty of pure water, avoiding all stimulating food and drink, and keep the bowels open.

11. Have a special time for your exercise and be as regular as with your meals.

12. Begin with light exercise, work up to more vigorous work, and finish with light hygienic exercise.

13. Spend the first part of your time in following out your prescription of exercise.

14. If you feel tired from a day of hard mental or physical work, exercise of the right kind will rest you.

15. Do not strive for huge muscles or great strength, as it is wasted energy in most cases.

16. What you can do is a better indication of improvement than size.


1. Have regular hours for meals.

2. Use a mixed diet of plain food, avoiding the foods that are hard to digest.

3. Chew your food well ; eating slowly aids digestion.

4. Do not live to eat, but eat to live. Strength comes from what you digest and not what you eat.

5. Avoid all stimulants, such as spirits, tea, coffee, and tobacco.

6. Avoid all foods that habitually disagree with you.

7. Never eat just before or after exercise, or when tired, physically or mentally, or excited.

8. If troubled with dyspepsia, go to your physician or the medical director.

9. Keep the bowels in order by establishing regular habits, and thus avoid disease.

10. Do not take up with new diet fads if you value your digestive organs.


1. Take your bath after exercise before you have cooled off.

2. Use a graded shower, beginning with lukewarm water and' finishing with a dash of cold.

3. Rub the body vigorously before and after the bath, rubbing toward the trunk.

4. Spend from two to three minutes in the bath, and from three to five minutes in rubbing and drying the body. Vitality is wasted by too Iong or too frequent bathing.

5. Never take a cold bath when tired, exhausted, or shortly before or after meals or severe exercise.

6. Cold morning baths and steam baths should only be taken under a physician's advice.

7. A very wise precaution is to wait five or ten minutes in the building after you have dressed. When you go out of doors button up your coat, breathe through your nose, and don't stand on the street.

To Reduce the Weight.

1. Take regular vigorous exercise daily, so as to perspire freely.

2. Take cold baths, using the precautions under the hints on bathing.

3. Do not sleep more than seven hours.

4. Drink less, eat less. Avoid sweets.

5. Eat proteid and dry foods and acid fruits.

6. For obesity take exercise for the abdominal, waist, and back muscles, and all movements in which the thighs are crowded into the abdomen.

To Increase the Weight.

1. Take regular, slow exercise, and deep breathing.

2. Eat plenty of the foods containing starches, sugars, fats, eggs, milk, etc.

3. Avoid condiments, acid fruits, and stimulants.

4. Rest after meals.

5. Sleep eight to ten hours.

6. Baths should be brief and not too frequent, with a dry

rub night and morning, and a massage if the skin is dry.

7. Do not worry. Take plenty of time for recreation.

8. Relax and have a good time at your exercise.

9. Keep the bowels regular.

For Constipation.

1. Exercise regularly, using the movements for the trunk, and those in which the thighs are crowded into the abdomen.

2. Eat fruit, bulky foods. Avoid constipating foods, such as milk, cheese, eggs, and fried foods.

3. Drink water freely. Take a glass of cold water at bed-time and upon rising.

4. Have a regular hour for evacuation.

For Rheumatism or Neuralgia.

1. Take light exercise, keeping the body thoroughly covered and warm.

2. Keep the feet warm.

3. Do not cool off suddenly, or take cold baths.

4. Regulate the bowels.

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