SYSTEMATIC PHYSICAL TRAINING
Chapter IóOur Physical Needs
T HE peril of this century is physical decay. This peril is gravely imminent with respect to all who dwell in our great cities. All the conditions of life in the modern American city favor it. Our vastly developed commercial tendency is one of its most effective promoters. Wealth, or the accumulation of that wherewith to gratify the desires, is the great incentive of our contemporaneous life, and under its fevered stimulation, vast numbers of men and women, utterly careless of the body's needs or demands, struggle in the great conflict, and eventually go down, victims of the unchangeable law of Nature, which de≠crees that the fittest shall survive.
And all these weak persons, who succumb to the inevitable before they have reached the ultimate span of a normal life, bear or beget children who are weak in proportion as their parents were weak, and these, thrust in their turn among con≠ditions demanding strength, resisting power, and vitality, suc≠cumb quicker than their forebears.
We are living in an age of rapid transit. The telegraph,
the telephone, the swift-flying mail train and ocean liner have
quickened the pulses of life and revolutionized the methods of
doing business. How to keep pace with this rapid method of
doing things is getting to be a very serious problem with a
great many people. The difficulty of adapting one's self to
new methods of thinking and acting is a very real one, and
thousands of persons are breaking down annually in their
efforts to do so. It would be the height of folly for a young