468 IDEAL HOME LIFE
greater than the energy of the muscle can sustain, becomes strained and weakened.
This system of exercises was designed with the special object in view of leading the student, by easy stages, into a condition of ideal development, in which all parts of the body are harmoniously strengthened. Therefore this word of caution is needed here. Take up the exercises as they are given; practice each series for the time allotted to it, following instructions faithfully, and you will acquire the development desired in a much shorter time than if you performed the movements haphazard, and without reference to the gradual strengthening of the muscles employed.
If you have ever performed any unusual physical work, such as taking a long bicycle ride after months of idleness, or attempted an unusually long walk, you are aware of some of the effects that may be expected from subjecting weak, undeveloped muscles to too great a strain. The soreness and lack of tone that generally follow such an experiment prevent one from repeating the effort for some time.
So, in exercising, if you do not adopt a gradual, systematic form of development, there are likely to be disastrous results. Too much exercise, as we have seen, will result in staleness, or a muscle-bound condition. Exercise of a violent nature, performed by one with untrained muscles, will resuh in a loss of tone, the rupture of a muscle, rupture of a blood vt ssel, dilatation of the heart or an artery, the giving way of a weakened valve of the heart, and divers other untoward manifestations.
These exercises were designed with the special object of supplying healthful and harmless exercises, which may be taken with benefit by the weak, as well as by the healthy. There is no danger, even in a patient suffering from heart disease, for instance, taking this system of exercises, if he will follow the instructions carefully, and depend on constant repetition fo the development he desires to effect, instead of attempting to apply the entire system to his case at once.
Regularity and moderation are the mainsprings of success in striving for ideal physical development, just as they are in eating and the other pursuits of life.