SYSTEMATIC PHYSICAL TRAINING 469
In fact, regularity must be the watchword of every one who would secure the much to be desired blessings of sound health, a symmetrical body, and mental and physical vigor.
One of the most important of the excretory organs is the skin. In a previous chapter I referred to a clear, ruddy skin as being one of the best indices to a strong, healthy physical condition, which is invariably accompanied by pure blood.
Likewise the skin is also one of the most easily affected parts of the body in the case of disease. A number of obscure and troublesome diseases are confined exclusively to the skin. We all know how quickly the skin registers the existence of a deranged physical condition. In cases of indigestion, imperfect nutrition, poor circulation, and many nervous disorders the skin becomes pallid, cold, and clammy; and in all fevers the skin is hot, dry, and rough.
The fact that it plays such an important part, and is such a clear barometer of one's physical condition, should argue for the most minute care of that part of the body.
One of the first essentials for a healthy condition of the system, is a clean, healthy skin. To secure this, regular bathing is required. Through the pores—the tiny excretory.ducts which arise in the subcutaneous tissues, and open at the surface of the skin—there is a constant excretion, in health and sickness, and unless this is removed, and the pores kept open, the results are bound to be disastrous. One of the most important phases of exercise is that by muscular movements. During exercises of this kind the skin is contracted and expanded, just as the deeper muscular tissues are, and. the pores are made to discharge, in the form of perspiration, all the waste material that may, in the course of the bodily economy, have come into their territory.
Bathing, like eating, sleeping, and exercise, should be regular, and it should be performed as intelligently as any other important function of civilized life. No one can keep the skin in a healthy condition by an occasional bath, at intervals of a