SYSTEMATIC PHYSICAL TRAINING 461
which is carried to the lungs and other parts of the body to be utilized as heat-producing elements, or to repair some broken-down part of the machinery. The oxygen necessary to completely burn, and employ this fuel, is taken into the lungs by respiration, or breathing. As the blood circulates through the body, laden with the various elements which constitute the tissues, bones, nerves, etc., of the body, the various living cels select what they need for maintaining their structure, and the residue, or waste, is passed out through the excretory channels as waste products.
But without exercise of our bodily functions they become deranged and weakened. The body without exercise is like a rusting engine, which finally drops to pieces from sheer disuse. Flabby muscles, shortness of breath, inability to undergo sudden or difficult exertion, and low vitality, are the certain symptoms of a body that is rusting.
With this plain, common-sense view of the structure and functions of the human body before us, it is apparent that the only thoroughly natural method of maintaining the equilibrium of health is to exercise—use the various organs reasonably—and to supply the proper proportions of food, water, and oxygen.
But the intellectual character of civilization has the tendency to develop the mental faculties of men and women at the expense of their physical strength. This is one of the evils of specialization, where an individual becomes a mental machine, quick and ready at his chosen work, but weak in all that goes to make physical manhood. From this one-sided development there can be nothing but ultimate failure.
The physical organization has been left out of the scheme of life altogether by many men and women, or else a too strong belief in the potency of drugs to remedy any manifestation of weakness has led them into the error of artificial stimulation of the overtaxed muscles and nerves, with disastrous results.
The day when there was absolute dependence in drugs has passed, and the advance guard of the new medical profession has for some time past recognized the fact, that not only physical development can be attained by exercises which employ the muscular system in regular movements, but that by bringing