THE ACTIVE MAN’S DILEMMA
Strange that we have not learned that any faculty possessed must be exercised or the possessor surely falls into evil ways. Strange that we have not seen that the man who explores the unknown world in mighty pioneering work, who frees it from oppression, who carries on its tremendous physical and industrial development, could never be satisfied if imprisoned within the four walls of an office. Thus hampered and confined, unless he finds expression for his speed mania, he grows irritable, ill, nervous, depressed. He troops, by the thousand, into the consulting rooms of the physician and surgeon. And always and always is the same prescription given: “You must get away from your work; you must get out into the open; you must get plenty of outdoor exercise.”
Exercise, exercise, exercise, has become the slogan. Magazines are devoted to it. Whole libraries of books are published showing the relationship between exercise and health. Sanitariums multiply whose principal means of cure are located in the gymnasium, in the garden, in the woods, at the wood pile, and on the farm. Fortunes have been made in the manufacture of the equipment for exercise: Indian clubs, dumb bells, and whole shiploads of so-called sporting goods, the object of all of which is to enable the active man to get some relief from the ache of his muscles or nerves due to lack of exercise.
EXERCISE FOR EXERCISE’S SAKE DULL
But the man of muscle is, as we have said, frequently a man of brains. He has common sense; he has a desire for accomplishment and achievement. To such a man, the mere pulling of cords, or the swinging about of his arms and legs, the bending of his back, just for the sake of exercise, seems a trifle stupid.
Very few men of this type ever keep up exercise for exercise’s sake for any very long period of time. They read in some magazine about the benefits of exercise. Perhaps, on account of some trouble, they go to their physicians, and exercise is prescribed. So, with a great show of resolution and not a little feeling of martyrdom, they buy a pair of Indian clubs, or wall exercisers, or a weight machine, or, perhaps, merely buy a book of “exercises without apparatus,” and make up their minds to take their exercises regularly every morning. At first they attack the task with great enthusiasm—but it is still a