By and by, however, to stand gazing blankly at the wall of a bathroom, or out of the window of a bed-chamber, and put your arms up five times and then straight forward five times, then repeat five times, etc., etc., grows dull. You lose interest You hate the task—you revolt. Even if, by power of will, you keep it up, you do so under protest. It is a physical truth that that which is disagreeable is also physically harmful. In order to be wholesomely nourishing, food must taste good. The same is true in regard to exercise. There is no very great benefit in exercise which is drudgery.
To take the “task” element out of exercise, many kinds of games have been invented—some indoor, some outdoor, some for men of little activity, some of great strenuousness and even danger. But it requires a particular type of man or woman to take interest in a game, to play it well and profitably, as a form of exercise. To enter into a game whole-heartedly, one must have a keen zest for combat. The man who plays purely for the sport, and not to win, doesn’t win. And the man who doesn’t win, loses interest. Not all men, not even all active men, have this desire to win. To them a game soon becomes dull—nearly as dull as any other form of exercise. They do not see that they are any further ahead in anything worth while simply because they have knocked a golf ball about more skilfully—or luckily—than some other fellow, or pulled a little stronger oar than their opponents. There are plenty of men to whom it is humiliating to be beaten, who are not good losers, and because they are not good losers they are not very often winners. Such men do not really enjoy games at all, and, as a general rule, do not play them with enthusiasm and persistence.
For those, then, who do not enjoy calisthenics of any kind, who take very little interest in games and contests, there remain, for exercise, gardening, farming, carpentry, forestry, hunting, fishing, mountain climbing, and other such forms of physical activity. All of these, however, require considerable leisure, and some financial investment. They are out of the reach of many of those in lower clerkships and other such employment. These men, by the thousands, work in offices which are, perhaps, not as well ventilated as they should be, under artificial light. They travel to and from their work in crowded street cars