The Hon. Daniel C. Roper, who was a member of the original class in Washington, requested the writer to come down and spend a month or six weeks in Washington, to organize drill groups in the various departments, several of them, like the Department of the Interior, having received requests to the number of three hundred or four hundred from men who wished to make themselves better fit physically for the work of these strenuous days. This, together with the demands from so many communities throughout the country, show that we are all now awake to the necessity of this cardinal feature of the nation’s welfare, the physical fitness and stamina of its youth and men. This new gospel cannot be spread by one individual missionary, although there is little doubt that, wherever the story is told, thousands of our overworked and under-exercised men are glad to avail themselves of the opportunity.
[Illustration: Extra leg work. This exercise places A handicap on A heavy man]
This is the reason why the author has been led to devise a set of exercises that can be put in small compass, as regards both instruction and time required. Here follows a brief syllabus of the plan, in the hope of placing it within reach of men who can afford but little time for anything outside of their pressing office duties. We can no longer take delightful vacations of indefinite length to restore our waning vitality. The country needs every man and needs him at the best of his power.
No matter how driven a man may be, it seems only reasonable to think that he should be able to spend ten minutes twice a day on a condensed system, or setting-up exercise, adding to it an outdoor walk of half an hour. By this means he can keep himself physically fit to bear the burdens which are falling more and more heavily upon the shoulders of us all. The men who are going to the front first should have every chance of conserving their vitality and increasing their resistive forces. Those of us who must do work behind the lines should be kept equally fit for that larger work without which the machine must inevitably break down. The method is scientific and it has been tested on men of all ages from eighteen to seventy. It embodies the elimination of all wasted effort and concentration upon points of approved and essential worth. It is as much a man’s duty to make himself fit and to keep himself in that condition as it is to carry on any other part of his work. This method should be adopted not only in every department at Washington, but throughout the country; it should be taught in our schools and colleges, and so thoroughly that never again in a world-wide crisis shall we find ourselves physically unprepared.
Vacillation and doubt are poison to the nerves.