IF your eyes are weak or your sight impaired in any manner whatsoever, one of the first requirements for improvement is to build up a better state of the general health.
It may have been your experience, just as it has been that of countless others, that signs of weakness of the eyes, failing of the sight, twitching of the eyelids and a smarting and burning sensation have accompanied a condition of depleted vitality. After your health has been restored you have found that your eyes grew stronger and better, giving you little or no further trouble.
Practically every one has had some such experiences. At all events, it is undeniably true that the condition of the general health is very largely reflected in the eyes, just as it is in the voice, in the complexion, in one's whole mental and physical bearing. As soon as you build vitality, strengthen the nervous system and improve the condition of the blood, the eyes acquire new vigor.
The reason for all this is obvious. The eyes depend upon the blood supply. If it is of the proper quantity and purity it will tend to keep these organs vigorous, just as all parts of the body are thus kept vigorous. If the blood is in poor condition, filled with impurities and sluggishly circulated, then you can not expect to keep your eyes, or any other part of your body, in the best condition. It is for this reason that good digestion, active elimination and general functional vigor must be considered if you wish to improve the condition of your eyes. In other words, constitutional treatment is necessary.
One of the first lessons for every man, woman and child to learn is that illness is one's own fault. It is purely a matter of cause and effect. Sickness comes as an inevitable result of habits and conditions of life which would logically produce such a result. Health is merely the effect of normal and natural habits of life. If you live in accordance with the laws of Nature you make illness practically impossible.
The truth is that it requires more energy to be sick than to be well. In a state of health the organs function properly, naturally and easily. There is no special effort upon the part of any one of them. Life proceeds smoothly and easily. But when one is sick the body has to struggle against poisons, against various handicaps, and the work of each organ of the body becomes a serious effort. Sickness means hard work for the body. Good health means freedom from all these troubles. It is, therefore, far easier to be well than to be sick.
If you have strength enough to resist illness and still live, you certainly will have energy enough to recover normal health, and to keep it. But you cannot secure health in a drug store. You cannot build health simply by conversing with a physician and paying him regrettable sums of money. You can build health only by obeying the laws of Nature, by cultivating habits and conditions such as will increase your strength, help your organs to function more perfectly and smoothly, and purify and improve the condition of your blood.
The cornerstones of health may be said to be exercise, air, food and sleep.
Exercise is probably the most neglected of all these vital health essentials. The first characteristic of all life is movement or the capacity for movement. You see an insect, a reptile, a lobster or any other animal lying motionless, and you wonder whether it is alive or dead. Perhaps you poke it with a stick. If it moves you know that it is alive. Our lives are based upon the capacity for movement. This applies not merely to the muscles which move the body about, but to the muscular organs which maintain the vital processes, such as the heart, stomach and blood-vessels, which have muscles in their walls to keep the contents circulating.
Forty per cent or more—that is to say, from two-fifths to one-half—of the weight and bulk of the body in a state of health and vigor is made up of muscular tissue. Most of the food is consumed in the muscles. It is inevitable, therefore, that a healthy state of the muscular system is a prime condition of what we call health. We are essentially muscular creatures. Therefore, to permit our muscles to degenerate and deteriorate means not only a loss of strength, but it means a poor and weak circulation, a loss of tone in all the organs, and consequently a general impairment of the health.
You will see from all this that muscular activity is absolutely essential to health. Inactivity means stagnation. Stagnation not merely of the muscles, but of the blood and of all those vital forces which together make up what we call life. Out-of-door exercise is undoubtedly the best. You should make it a point to get enough of it. But whether you can spend much time outdoors or not, you should certainly take enough exercise of a strength-building character in your own home, or in your own room, to maintain the muscular system in a state of full development and normal vigor. More detailed consideration of the subject of exercise for constitutional purposes will be given in the next chapter.
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