The writer visited recently many of the training-camps, both military and naval; and when he came away he was quite prepared to agree with those who praise the flower of the flock as being superior to that they have seen on the other side. The point is that Doctor Sargent is absolutely right in asserting that we ought not to have had so many rejections. It is time for us to realize that a man who is out of balance physically should be looked after. Moreover, men should not become out of balance. The truth of the matter is that our mechanical devices have gone so far toward taking the place of manual labor that we only have one line of physical development—our athletic sports. If, therefore, these are not made broad enough and thorough enough and accessible enough, we are likely to have just what is happening now—namely, a slump when it comes to measuring up to the standard instituted by the military authorities.
Our young men do flock to the cities and city life means crowded conditions, lack of outdoor exercises, vitiated atmosphere, and a minimum of sunshine and of the other elements that go to perfecting and keeping up a robust and enduring physique.
Now exercise is the most important factor toward counteracting these unnatural conditions. Air, bathing, and diet aid, but we must have exercise in order to get the energetic contraction of the larger muscles of the body which goes so far toward regulating the physical tone. We must have what are called compensatory exercises, beginning as far down as the grammar-schools and continuing right through the universities and professional schools into general business and civic life. This war has opened our eyes; it should be a warning, and it ought to result in a far broader comprehension of what physical condition and physical education really mean. It is in this way only that we can meet the demands of modern civilization without an accompanying deterioration of the physical condition of our people. No one has set a finer example in this respect than President Wilson himself, who, realizing the enormous strain that was coming upon him, has systematically and conscientiously prepared for it. Early every morning, long before most Washingtonians are so much as turning over for their pre-getting-up nap, the President is out and off around the golf-course. Also Doctor Grayson has prepared a system of exercises for his use when outdoor work is impossible.