It should be remembered that all the members of the body partake of the slackness that is apparent externally. Thus organs that should be active in changing fat into energy lose their tone, and with that goes their ability to carry on their proper functions. The best work of the man himself is co-ordinated with the proper performance of the bodily activities. Growth and strength depend upon and react upon the tissues, and while this process is less active as age comes on, it can be stimulated to the great advantage of both mind and body.
Every man who has reached a high place in his community or who has become a leader of note knows that executive work has a tremendous effect upon the nerves and body. If the man becomes run-down the smallest decision gives him difficulty; it seems weighted with enormous possibilities of disaster. A problem, which under normal conditions he would turn over with equanimity to his assistant, takes on, in his nervous state, a seriousness that leads to hours of worry. And yet if he goes away on a vacation he returns to find that nine-tenths of these troublesome things have been well taken care of during his absence. Moreover, now that he has come back in a state of physical health and with nerves that are normal, he sees that these awful problems were simply exaggerated in his own mind by his overwrought physical condition.
Few people realize the effect of worry upon the digestion.
An experiment was once tried upon a cat, which was fed a dish of milk, stroked until it purred, and played with for half an hour. The animal was then killed and the stomach examined; the milk was perfectly digested. Another cat was taken and given a similar saucer of milk; then its fur was rubbed the wrong way and it was teased and annoyed as much as possible for half an hour. Upon examining the stomach of the second cat it was found that not a step in the process of digestion had taken place.
It is wise to study the condition that we might almost call “Americanitis.” The American youth, as shown in the Olympic games, is not only a match in speed, strength, and stamina for the youth of other nations, but when it comes to the individual specialist even then the American-trained boy is his superior. We smash records regularly. We have been doing this for a decade with hardly a break. Even those who criticize our tendency to develop individuals are obliged to admit that this continual advance in athletic prowess fosters the spirit of emulation among the masses. Moreover, we are improving in the way of distributing our efforts, and more and more men in schools and colleges come out for physical training and development. We have not by any means perfected the system, but it is on the way. Supplementing this general athletic development comes now the introduction into the curriculum of military drill.