Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/382

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comfort of a full belly and expand all the time in the warm atmosphere afforded us by clothes, wind-protected dwellings and artificial heat—particularly so in the winter, when the health of the business man deteriorates. Cold is not comfortable, neither is hunger, therefore we are led to ascribe many of our ills to exposure to cold, and seek to make ourselves strong by what is termed good living. I maintain that the bracing effect of cold is of supreme importance to health and happiness, that we become soft and flabby and less resistant to the attacks of infecting bacteria in the winter not because of the cold but because of our excessive precautions to preserve ourselves from cold; that the prime cause of "cold" or "chill" is not really exposure to cold but to the over-heated and confined air of rooms, factories and meeting places. Seven hundred and eleven survivors were saved from the Titanic after hours of exposure to cold. Many were insufficiently clad and others wet to the skin. Only one died after reaching the Carpathia, and he three hours after being picked up. Those who died perished from actual cooling of the body. Exposure to cold did not cause in the survivors the diseases commonly attributed to cold.

Conditions of city and factory life diminish the physical and nervous energy, and reduce many from the vigorous health and perfectness of bodily functions which a wild animal possesses to a more secure, but poorer and far less happy, form of existence. The ill chosen diet, the monotony and sedentary nature of daily work, the windless uniformity of atmosphere, above all, the neglect of vigorous muscular exercise in the open air and exposure to the winds and light of heaven—all these, together with the difficulties in the way of living a normal sexual life, go to make the pale, undeveloped, neurotic and joyless citizen. Nurture in unnatural surroundings, not nature's birth-mark, molds the criminal and the wastrel. The environment of childhood and youth is at fault rather than the stock; the children who are taken away and trained to be sailors, those sent to agricultural pursuits in the colonies, those who become soldiers, may develop a physique and bodily health and vigor in striking contrast to their brothers who become clerks, shop assistants and compositors.

Too much stress can not be put on the importance of muscular exercise in regard to health, beauty and happiness. Each muscle fills with blood as it relaxes, and expels this blood on past the venous valves during contraction. Each muscle together with the venous valves forms a pump to the circulatory system. It is the function of the heart to deliver the blood to the capillaries, and the function of the muscles—visceral, respiratory and skeletal—to bring it back to the heart. The circulation is contrived for a restless mobile animal; every vessel is arranged so that muscular movement furthers the flow of blood.