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MUSCULAR EXERCISE AND MENTAL STIMULUS.
1. THERE is still another important principle connected with muscular exercise that must not be disregarded. The muscles depend, almost wholly, for their strength and activity, upon the stimulus' which they receive from the mind. Let the mind encourage them by pleasurable excitement, and they will labor long and actively with but little fatigue; but if the mind be unoccupied, gloomy, and desponding, the muscles will soon become weary.
2. That muscular power depends but very little upon the mere unaided strength of the muscular fibres, is shown by the fact that, when separated from the body, the muscle, which formerly sustained and raised a weight of one hundred pounds, will be torn asunder by a weight of ten pounds. And how has it lost all this power'? Is it not because its appropriate mental stimulus has been taken away'?
3. It is owing to the stimulus which the muscles receive from the mind that a sportsman will pursue his game for miles, not only without fatigue, but with a great degree of enjoyment, while a dull walk of half the distance would weary both mind and body. The same principle was well illustrated in the retreat from Russia of the defeated and dispirited French army. When no enemy was near, the French soldiers had hardly strength sufficient to carry their arms; but no sooner did they hear the report of the Russian guns, than new life seemed to pervade them, and they wielded their weapons powerfully until the foe was repulsed. Then, the mental stimulus being gone, there was a relapse2 to weakness, and prostration followed.
4. It is thus with the invalid3 when riding or taking a walk for his health. If he have nothing to occupy his mind, he will be apt to return weary and dispirited; but let him have the pleasure of agreeable company, or be able to enjoy the charms of surrounding nature, and his ride or. walk will refresh and invigorate him. So it is with the daily vocations5
of life. If the mind furnish the muscles with the appropriate incentive to exertion, the tiresomeness of labor will be greatly diminished. It is ever found that "cheerfulness sweetens toil," thus confirming the wisdom of Solomon, that “a merry heart doeth good like a medicine."
5. Physicians often avail themselves of the principle of combining mental excitement with muscular exertion in the treatment of their patients. Thus the Spectator tells an amusing story of the advice given by a physician to one of the Eastern kings. The physician brought him a heavy mallet, and told him that the remedy was concealed in the handle, and could act upon him only by passing into the palms of his hands when engaged in vigorously pounding with it, and that, as soon as perspiration should be induced," he might desist for the time, as that would be proof that the medicine was beginning to be received into the system.
6. The effect, we are told, was marvelous; and, looking to the principle just stated, to the cheerful mental stimulus arising from the confident expectation of a cure, and to the consequent advantages of exercise thus judiciously managed, we have no reason to doubt that the fable is in perfect accordance with nature.
7. Of a like character is the anecdote which has been related of a physician in London, who advised a dyspeptics patient, who had baffled all his remedies, to go and consult a celebrated physician several hundred miles distant in the country. On arriving at the place, the patient soon discovered that no such person lived there. The stimulus of expecting a cure, however, had been sufficient to enable the patient not only to bear the journey, but to reap benefit from it; and his wrath at finding no such person as had been described to him, and his anger on perceiving that he had been tricked, sustained him in returning, so that on his arrival home he was cured of his disease.
8. Cases like the following, illustrating the same principle, are not unfrequent. A gentleman immersed in the business and pleasures of a great city becomes disordered in health, and depressed in spirits. He receives much good advice from his medical friend, which he professes to follow with implicit
confidence, and proceeds to do so amid the anxieties of business, bad air, late hours, luxurious dinners, and nearly the total want of bodily exercise.
9. Deriving no benefit from all that is done for him, he hears of some celebrated springs, whose waters have acquired great reputation in the cure of stomach complaints; and at length he makes up his mind to proceed thither, though with little hope of deriving benefit from any thing. He now lays aside all business, lives by rule, keeps early hours, and is all day long in the open air. He soon recovers excellent health, and cordially concurs in spreading the fame of the water by which a cure so wonderful has been accomplished.
10. The advantages of combining harmonious mental excitement with muscular exertion, are thus noticed by Dr. Armstrong in his poem entitled the Art of Preserving Health:
"In whate'er you sweat,
The gun's unerring thunder. And there are
Whom still the meed13 of the green archer charms.
He chooses best whose labor entertains
His vacant fancy most. THE TOIL YOU HATE
FATIGUES YOU SOON, AND SCARCE IMPROVES YOUR LIMBS."
IN-DUCED', caused; occasioned.
8 DYS-PEP'-TI¤, afflicted with bad digestion.
2 RE-LAPSE', a sliding or falling back.
9 IM-MERSED', deeply engaged.
3 IN-VA-LID, a person who is weak or in- 10 FOIL, a blunt sword used in fencing, or firm.
4 IN-VIG -OR-ATE, strengthen.
1 STIM'-U-LUS, impulse; that which rouses? to action.
5 VO-CA-TION, occupation; employment.
6 SPEC-TA-TOR, a series of papers written mostly by Addison.
11 TEN-NIS, a game of ball.
12 Cov'-EY (kuv ́-y), plural cov′-eys, a small flock of birds.
13 MEED, reward; prize.
ORGANS THAT PREPARE NOURISHMENT FOR THE BODY. THE STOMACH, Liver, Pancreas, LACTEALS, AND SMALLER INTESTINES.
1. It has been stated that the bones and the muscles, and also all other portions of the body, are nourished and sustained by the blood; and that the blood is constantly conveying to them new particles of matter, and carrying away worn-out portions which are of no further use. As the blood has so much to do in the building and repairing of the "house we live in," it will be both interesting and useful to know something about the organs and the processes by which the blood itself is manufactured.
2. We will begin, therefore, by stating that the blood is manufactured from the food we eat. It may well be sup, posed, therefore, that the quality of the blood will depend considerably upon the quality of the materials used in its manufacture; for, while it is true that good wholesome food will make good blood, it is equally true that poor food will make poor blood. The "house we live in" can not be a very good one if made of poor materials. This subject, the man ufacture of the blood, becomes, therefore, a very important
3. As is well known, the solid portions of our food are first divided by chewing. And here, we may remark, it is very desirable that the teeth should be firm and strong, and that they should be required to do their part of the work well. While they are doing their duty, several little sacs, or glands, near the sides of the mouth, throw into the mouth a liquid called saliva, which moistens the food, so that it may glide easily down the throat into the stomach.
4. The next thing is to describe the stomach, and tell what that does toward manufacturing blood. The stomach is a kind of bag that will hold from a quart to three pints, ac cording to the size and age of a person. It is formed chiefly of muscles, some running in one direction, and some in an
other, and the inner side is lined with vessels which contain a fluid called the gastric juice.
5. When food is received into the stomach, the blood-vessels of the stomach carry off any superabundance2 of water that may be found there; then the gastric juice is poured upon the food to dissolve it, and the muscles of the stomach move the food about in every direction, so as thoroughly to mix it with the gastric juice. This operation is continued, with a strong and steady action, from two to four hours after a hearty meal, until the food is reduced to a thin paste. In this state it is called chyme.
6. As soon as any portion of the tood is thus suitably prepared, the muscles, seeming to know their duty well, move it along to the small end of the stomach, where a little door or valve opens to let it pass through into the smaller intestines. This valve is a very faithful sentinel, always on duty; and if any portion of food not properly digested—that is, not reduced to chyme-makes its appearance there, this little valve will close against it, and turn it back into the stomach. The ancient Greeks gave to this valve the name pylōrus, which means "a door-keeper." (See Figs. 9 and 10, page 33.)
7. There is one thing more very singular about this everwatchful sentinel. While it will not, unless completely exhausted by fatigue, let indigestible food pass at all, it opens at once to let other substances pass, such as buttons, pieces of money, and little pebbles, that nave been swallowed by mistake. For of what use would it be to keep them in the stomach? Mr. Pylōrus seems to know that they can not be digested at all, and that the easiest way to dispose of them is to let them pass on.
8. It sometimes happens that either too great a quantity of food, or food of a bad quality, has been taken into the stomach. The stomach, after a great amount of labor, and failing to digest it, tries to get rid of it by pushing it past the pylōThe pylorus resists, and a struggle ensues. If the pylōrus yields first, the undigested food passes through, irritating the intestines as it moves along, and often producing severe sickness. But if the stomach yields first, its muscles endeavor to expel the unwholesome food in the other direction, and occasion what is called vomiting.