Eugen Sandow, ‘Hygience and Medical Gymnastics,’ Sandow on Physical Training AND MEDICAL GYMNASTICS.

Eugen SandowIT needs no emphasizing to say here that it is incumbent on every one to conserve, and, as far as one can, increase, to their full development and vigor, his bodily and mental powers. What- ever agents will best promote this, it is admittedly a duty to make use of. One of the chief means for attaining health and strength is, as has been shown, bodily exercise. This, in the main, is within the reach of all; for a trifling outlay can place at one’s use, at least, a pair of light dumb- bells, and, in the cause in which we enlist their service, the expenditure of a little time and energy is surely worth the making. Nor is exercise of this kind unsuited to either young or old, for im- mature limbs can bear, as they will certainly profit by, a modest amount of pleasurable but sys- tematic training; while even old age will feel the invigorating effects of a little stimulating exer- cise, which should not, of course, go beyond what is appropriate to declining powers. In the case even of invalids, or of those who suffer from minor and removable ailments, there are many strengthening and curative movements, with or without weights, which would be possible for them to perform, and which would bring relief and perhaps a cure. Of this class, we may men- tion, among others, those who suffer from chronic headache, rheumatism, indigestion, poorness or imperfect circulation of the blood, nervous troubles, etc., as well as those who are obese or who incline to obesity. For these and such like disorders, a mild course of dumb-bell exercise will be found efficacious, or at any rate salutary; while the exercise can be taken, as if from the home medicine-chest, without resort to the gymnasium or other dispensary.

In truth, the more the rationale of gymnastics is studied, the wider and more beneficial will be the scope of their application as a remedial agent. This is now being admitted by the many who make use of the massage treatment (an agent kindred to gymnastics), and the movement cure. It is also acknowledged by those who pin their faith to dietetics, yet who recognize the dif- ficulty of applying diet-remedies where the condition of the alimentary organs, or any structural weakness of the body, interferes with the absorbing and assimilating of certain foods. Where these defects exist, muscular exercise of a mild character, and when appropriately directed, will be found one of the best means of readjusting the system and furthering the processes of nutrition in the body. Nor is the prescribed remedy inapplicable in the early stages, at least, of consumption and even heart disease, though in these cases, the movements should, of course, be indulged in with moderation. Public speakers and singers will also profit, as we have shown, by exercises which strengthen and give tone to the vocal organs.

In all these several ways can health be promoted, strength acquired, the injurious effect of certain callings in life counteracted, and a very appreciable energizing influence exerted upon the mental faculties. To those, especially, whose vocations confine them to sedentary habits and the stooping attitude, and which in too many cases induce distorted frames, round shoulders or une- qual height, and a one-sided development of the body and limbs, daily exercise at the dumb-bells will be found fraught with gratifying benefit. But the exercise should be persistent, and, while indulged in, vigorous, for it is unreasonable to expect the frame and its muscle-vesture to re- cover, by occasional and intermittent corrective exercise, what they are habituated to throughout a long day’s occupation in a deforming and unnatural posture. This, it is hardly necessary to say, applies to women as well as to men; for among the other sex are to be met with ill-built and ill- conditioned women, upon whom fashion, unwisely followed, lays its ungracious hand, as seen in the victims of indigestion, constricted breathing, constipation, sallow complexion, the malaise feeling, and feeble health

In truth, the more the rationale of gymnastics is studied, the wider and more beneficial will be the scope of their application as a remedial agent. This is now being admitted by the many who make use of the massage treatment (an agent kindred to gymnastics), and the movement cure. It is also acknowledged by those who pin their faith to dietetics, yet who recognize the dif- ficulty of applying diet-remedies where the condition of the alimentary organs, or any structural weakness of the body, interferes with the absorbing and assimilating of certain foods. Where these defects exist, muscular exercise of a mild character, and when appropriately directed, will be found one of the best means of readjusting the system and furthering the processes of nutrition in the body. Nor is the prescribed remedy inapplicable in the early stages, at least, of consumption and even heart disease, though in these cases, the movements should, of course, be indulged in with moderation. Public speakers and singers will also profit, as we have shown, by exercises which strengthen and give tone to the vocal organs.

In all these several ways can health be promoted, strength acquired, the injurious effect of certain callings in life counteracted, and a very appreciable energizing influence exerted upon the mental faculties. To those, especially, whose vocations confine them to sedentary habits and the stooping attitude, and which in too many cases induce distorted frames, round shoulders or unequal height, and a one-sided development of the body and limbs, daily exercise at the dumb-bells will be found fraught with gratifying benefit. But the exercise should be persistent, and, while indulged in, vigorous, for it is unreasonable to expect the frame and its muscle-vesture to recover, by occasional and intermittent corrective exercise, what they are habituated to throughout a long day’s occupation in a deforming and unnatural posture. This, it is hardly necessary to say, applies to women as well as to men; for among the other sex are to be met with ill-built and ill- conditioned women, upon whom fashion, unwisely followed, lays its ungracious hand, as seen in the victims of indigestion, constricted breathing, constipation, sallow complexion, the malaise feeling, and feeble health.

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