( Originally Published 1929 )
AN important part of the technique of weight reduction consists in proper exercise, mild in nature and frequently repeated over a long period of time.
Unfortunately, laziness is one of the symptoms of obesity, which by its very nature prevents its victims from taking a normal amount of the exercise so essential to well-being.
If you are overweight it is easier to sit in the bleachers and yell your approval of the player who stars than to get out and knock home runs or make shoestring catches yourself. About the only good you get during the game is from exposure to the rays of the sun and the chances are if you can afford the price you go to the grand stand and deny yourself even that benefit. In base-ball season sixty thousand eager rooters daily jam a stadium to cheer eighteen baseball heroes who alone enjoy the beneficent results of one of nature's best reduction cures.
Inability or refusal to take exercise inevitably makes the circulation sluggish. The ultimate result is that there is produced a condition of impaired tissue oxidation, faulty elimination with a resulting fatty degeneration of vital organs.
The obese prefer to be given exercise instead of taking it. All manner of exercise devices have been invented to remove fat and build muscle. When a device which can build will-power has been in-vented the cure of obesity will be an easy matter.
One gets out of exercise what one puts into it.
Exercise involving effort is what counts.
It takes will-power to walk five miles daily, to do fifteen minutes at setting-up exercises morning and night or to spend twenty at a rowing machine and to keep up the exercise day after day.
Sporadic exercise does but little good. The week-end devoted to golf, tennis, skating and horseback riding, is excellent for the general health but does little to solve the weight problem.
The obese as a rule do not enjoy walking. Either their arches cause discomfort or their ankles or legs pain them. Yet there is no form of exercise which revitalizes tissue so effectively as proper walking.
If you will walk to your office instead of riding in your automobile it will help. If you give up your automobile to walk, in the same spirit you ought to climb stairs instead of using the elevator.
Sauntering, window shopping, or walking down Main Street with traffic interruptions at each corner is next to useless. Walking should be done in comfortable shoes, with a good stride, at a brisk rate with arms and shoulders relaxed while you breathe deeply. But all the benefit of a long walk may be nullified by a heavy meal induced by the hunger created by the exercise.
Without question the rowing machine is the best method of taking exercise indoors. Requiring a space of but five feet square it offers the greatest amount of exercise in the shortest space of time. All the important muscles of the body are brought into play and the anterior and posterior middle regions of the body are specifically exerted. The degree of resistance can be regulated by a twist of a screw. If practiced near an open window its merits are increased. I have one patient who has a small room set aside for the exclusive use of the rowing machine—the walls of which are plastered with all manner of water scenes. He thus figuratively and pictorially enters into the spirit of water sports. This exercise is safe, easily available, inexpensive and effective and it is to be highly recommended. But exercise should always be taken within the limits of exhaustion. The obese with heart complications, high blood pressure or kidney disease must observe great caution in exercise. In the obese exercise should be carried to the point of sweating. It is well to dress warmly so as to induce free perspiration. Chilling of the body surface should be avoided.
The outside of a horse is good for both the out-side and the inside of a fat person. To be really effective in reducing, however, horseback riding must be energetic and prolonged. A lively horse is desirable, too, because weight reduction will be found to approximate the spirit of the animal. Sitting comfortably on a lazy horse's back reduces the horse but not the rider. Tissue oxidation is unquestionably increased by brisk horseback riding. It improves the functioning of the liver and thus assists materially in weight reduction. Happily it is a pleasant recreational exercise, one that is sure to be welcome as a means of advantageously whiling away the dietetic hours which may hang heavily on the long-suffering obese.