462 IDEAL HOME LIFE
into systematic use the muscles and organs of any affected portion of the body, wonderful curative powers are put in operation.
There have been half a dozen treatises on the application of physical exercises to healing purposes written by members of the medical profession. But most of them were designed merely to supplement the ordinary treatment by drugs. We undertake to supply herewith a series of exercises, devised to gradually strengthen the entire physical body, and to do it so gradually that even an invalid may take up the system, and by following it through to its conclusion obtain not only relief from his disease, but the requisite degree of muscular strength which one of his or her particular height and build should possess.
Most of the systems of physical culture heretofore put before the public are arduous, and demand considerable time. The advantage we claim for the following exercises, which embrace all that is necessary to secure the development of an athlete, is that they requires absolutely no apparatus, although we give a few movements at the close for dumb-bells; and that all the time required is a few minutes every morning and night. You will never miss these short periods of exercise from your day's duties, and you will find yourself unconsciously gaining vigor and elasticity, and the buoyant spirit that is inseparable from successful achievement.
I referred in the preceding chapter to the importance of supplying the proper fuel to the intricate living engine—the human body. The importance of this subject becomes greater when we undertake to effect a development of the physical system to that degree of perfection that accompanies health. A person might exercise persistently, practicing the most approved movements, and still never succeed in developing a particle of muscular tissue, or gaining the normal level of health, if they refused to conform to a diet that would supply the elements of nutrition needed by the body to maintain its heat and effect its repairs.