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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/464

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

that at the time of life when young men come to our American colleges, when, in fact, all their bodily organs are approaching maturity, this body brain-work ought to cease, or can, without danger, be neglected? Is it not most essential that at this very period the reciprocal action between body and brain should be steadily maintained, in order that both should be able to endure the strain put upon them by the various stimulants of thought and feeling to be found in college-life? The great pressure brought to bear upon them is toward conscious cerebration. Acquisitions of knowledge, scholarships, the ambitious desires of parents, and prizes, all incite them to neglect body brain-work, under the mistaken impression that time given to that is time lost to the other. Many a fine scholar has left college with great honors, to experience in his subsequent career the serious results of the mistake made in college, and has discovered, often too late, that a vigorous body to carry his brain is more essential to success in life than a well-trained brain full of knowledge but lacking a strong body from which to draw its nourishment and strength.

Again, exercise, to be beneficial, should be regular and systematic. To be most beneficial it should be in the open air. The oxygenation of the blood is not the least important effect of exercise. In consequence of the reciprocal action of mind and body, to be as beneficial as possible it should be accompanied by mental occupation. The mind should be interested in the exercise while the body is engaged. How shall all these requisites of the best kind of exercise be secured? First, a regularly set time for exercise; next, a fixed amount of time devoted to it; then a place where the lungs should breathe fresh air; and, lastly, a kind of exercise which should engage the mind as well as the body. By the present system of college athletics these requisites are met, if not perfectly, at least as well as it is possible for them to be met. If the millennium had come, and all men, and especially young men, would do right, without any compulsion, and simply because it is the only thing to do, we might come to a settlement of these important particulars of exercise for our students. The regularity of the exercise, and the amount of time devoted to it, could easily be arranged. There could be no question as to the expediency of taking it in the open air. But how secure the co-operation of the mind? How make bodily exercise interesting, so that a man will desire to take it and will take it with gladness, not making a burden of it, and not considering it as a duty merely? That is the real problem to solve, when we set ourselves to the task of prescribing the right kind of exercise. Very few can be induced to exercise from a sense of duty. The majority go without it till they suffer illness from the want of it, and then prefer a doctor's remedies to Nature's. Here athletics accomplish the greatest good. They do furnish a mental stimulus. They set up an object to be striven for, and an ideal of strength or skill. The object is honor—honor of no great worth, perhaps, but still honor