PHYSICAL AND MENTAL PREPAREDNESS
It is not the object of this chapter to deal with a set course of physical culture, but rather to emphasize the necessity of keeping our physical house in order. There are plenty of books on physical culture which can be relied upon and also any number of physical instructors who are able to advise and help along a set program. There are hundreds of places, institutions, clubs, Y.M.C.A.’s, and the like, which provide gymnasiums and every other facility for those who determine to build themselves up through consistent physical exercise. That is all very well to begin with, but afterward we must have some simple methods of our own which will not make it a hardship or a chore to keep ourselves in trim—a state of physical preparedness. It should become a part of our daily scheme to obey certain, simple rules which tend toward an automatic effort instead of a discipline, and we should persevere in these until they become fixed habits.
It is no trouble at all to take exercise unconsciously, and we only arrive at this by turning into an exercise any of our ordinary physical actions during the day as we go along. For instance, we can sit down in a chair and in so doing can add a certain amount of exercise to the action itself—also in rising. With very little effort we can come into the habit of sitting correctly—posing the body as it should be—holding the shoulders in proper position—also the chin so that it becomes a hardship to sit improperly.
All of this has to do with general physique. In walking we can go along with a spring, elasticity, and vigor of motion which forces a fine blood circulation throughout the entire system. We can stoop over in the act of picking up some object from the floor and at the same time make it a matter of physical exercise, and we may take a hat from the rack while standing away from it, thus stretching ourselves, as it were, into a little needful action. Putting on an overcoat, or any part of our clothing, may be done in such a way as to set the blood to racing through the body. Morning and night—upon getting up and upon retiring—there is every reason to make it a rule to exercise freely.
The morning exercise wakes us up and sits us down finally at the breakfast table with a zest for the food set before us. The morning bath is an agency for good in this direction after we have given ourselves a good shake-up from head to foot. By the same token, exercises at night before retiring induces sound sleep and takes away the strain of the preceding day.
A very successful system is that of exercising in bed. Instead of immediately jumping to the floor in the morning it is very inviting to go through some simple form of gymnastics in which the physical structure is brought into play.