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Mental Attitude

( Originally Published 1930 )

The thoughts governing the above actions should be carefully controlled. Concentrate upon what you are doing until your muscles are trained to act as you will. After a while their action becomes automatic and your thoughts can be given to higher things. Feel light and airy, as though flying through space. Be buoyant and do not allow the weight to drag heavily. Allow only happy, cheerful thoughts to occupy your mind. If unpleasant thoughts enter your mind, banish them, or, better still, change them into constructive thoughts.

Study the action of a horse, or dog, or cat, and you will observe how gracefully and easily they move. They never allow the weight to come down with a thump. Their ankle and knee action is beautiful. This is particularly true of wild animals, they have a graceful, easy swing that domestic animals lack; partly because of confinement and partly because of cement streets and sidewalks. Mother Earth is easier to tread upon and gives much electrical energy as well. Even city-bred animals feel this and always show their natural preference when out of bondage. Mind and thought correspond very frequently with the gait. A dull, heavy motion accompanies worry, ill health, failure, and depression. A light, springy, and energetic walk will correspond to a hopeful, happy attitude; it accompanies success, health, and eagerness to get somewhere. A person's attitude upon life and his character may be read with a little study and experience in observation. Much could be written upon this subject for the play of mind upon the body and health, and visa versa, is almost endless. Think about it and study yourself, your thoughts, your postures, and your motions.

EXERCISE 6.-When running, as in walking, apply the same general principles of posture and balance and the same policy, always, of allowing the weight of the body to carry you forward. (Figures I I, 12, 13, 14.)

Use the same precaution of keeping the spine limber and the abdominal muscles held in and up, to properly support the vital organs. The ankles and knees should be perfectly flexible for they act as shock absorbers, and give a springy lightness to the gait. The neck, head, and shoulders should never be held rigidly stiff but comfortably relaxed and limber. The entire torso should be able to sway rhythmically with the motions of the legs.

Running keeps one actively alert and- stimulates quick action. It is an excellent exercise to use in developing the lungs and in testing the endurance unless overdone; but unless practiced correctly, running may easily prove to be injurious and cause strain upon the heart and lungs. To run with a constant jarring upon the spine will eventually cause nervous trouble and sagging of the internal organs.

In running, as in all forms of exercise or movement, there is a right way and many wrong ways.

A rhythmic, rapid lope is used by the Indian for quick sprinting, while a sort of steady trot is found to be easier for long distances. Sometimes he carries the arms with elbows flexed, but more often the Indian changes his arm position to suit his action and for relaxation on long runs. He usually carries something in each hand.

The Indian has a very graceful ankle and knee motion in running, very similar to a highly bred race horse. It facilitates alighting upon the ball of the foot and, in placing the weight forward, to "carry" the run. The balance is maintained between the thigh muscles and the tendon Achilles, the thigh pulling and the large heel tendon pushing forward, while the knees and ankles act as fulcrums. Running out of doors, on the turf or a dirt road, or, better still, upon the beach is exhilarating exercise, especially when rhythmic breathing accompanies the stride. Allow the same number of steps in taking the breath as in holding it and in exhaling again.

Stationary running is also a good stimulator. Stand in one place and go through the running motions, picking the feet up high and bringing the knee up, as close to the body as you can.

The skip or hippety-hop is also good exercise. Be very careful to obey the rules of posture and running or it might jar the head and spine, or cause the viscera to sag—especially if you do not hold the abdominal muscles in and up as you should.

Hill Climbing

EXERCISE 7.-On a hike it is advisable to wear as little clothing as you can. Wear light-weight woolens in cold weather, with soft woolen hose and comfortably loose, soft shoes. Stiff shoes do not permit one to cling with the toes or get a grip or purchase when climbing on a steep slope or over rocks. Climbing is an excellent and perfectly natural exercise, and it is always well to take a natural form of exercise, especially out of doors, whenever you can.

Observe the rules for posture when climbing up hill, allowing the weight to swing well forward, rather than pull it up, after you take a step. Allow the legs to do the work and with as little unnecessary strain as possible. The rules for walking are exaggerated for climbing. It is more noticeable that the forward leg is pulled up by the thigh muscles while the back leg pushes the weight up, using the thigh muscles to push down and the lower leg and tendon Achilles to push up : a double action. On very steep hills or cliffs, it is well to feel with the hands for a strong place to bear the weight and to assist in the pull upward. Keep the spine well relaxed and it will enable you to cling closer to the cliff and also to better keep your balance. Pulling the weight up by the arms is always good exercise.

EXERCISE 8.-Down hill the action and carriage are different in that it is necessary to carry the weight back to prevent falling forward. Always take the descent with flexed knees and a relaxed spine; then you will not feel the jar. It is necessary, on steep cliffs, to descend heels first and, if this is done with a stiff ankle, knee, or spine, the jar amounts to a distinct shock.

In case of falling, relax completely and you will be much more likely to escape broken bones. Any rigidity places the arms and legs at angles in which they are much more apt to strike a rough surface and break. It is easier to save yourself too if there is a chance of grasping something.


EXERCISE 9.—To the outdoor sportsman the ability to swing from branches or cliffs is often absolutely necessary. Practice swinging from tree branches, swinging the weight from branch to branch. There is nothing much better than this to limber the spine and shoulders and to strengthen the arms and back at the same time.

Allow the weight to hang by one arm and swing around to another branch, either forward or backward, and take the weight onto the other arm.

Twist the body, hanging by one arm; then, when hanging, by both arms.

Hanging by the feet, heels, or toes, and then pulling the weight up, either forward or backward, is good practice as well as strengthening.

Hang by the knees and swing, allowing the arms and shoulders to swing out, perfectly relaxed.

Many of the regulation trapeze tricks may be done from a tree, with the added advantage of being out of doors and requiring more dexterity on account of the other branches.


EXERCISE Io.—When jumping, the Indian makes his entire body perfectly limber and relaxed, with the exception of the abdominal muscles, which he carefully draws inward and up, to form a strong protective wall to support the internal viscera and delicate generative organs. The legs are relaxed, toes pointed downward, knees and ankles flexed for the spring. This enables him to land on a cushion, the balls of the feet, and with an elastic spring of the knees and ankles that prohibits all shock when he alights. He straightens himself by lifting his weight up and forward, using the muscles of the legs.

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