The average man is very liable to contract chill when he is recovering from an illness such as influenza or rheumatism. He finds convalescence tedious, feels that he is neglecting his work, and tries to rush into harness when he ought to be comfortably convalescing at home. The result is a relapse, which is especially dangerous after influenza, in that it may entail such a complication as pneumonia. Too rapid a recovery is always a danger, and chill is an inevitable sequence of going out of doors too soon, or refusing to convalesce for a reasonable time.
Nerve strain is such a universal factor in life to-day for business and professional men that the wife who can in any way counteract its effect will improve her husband's health enormously, and prolong his life and capacity for work. Rest and recreation are the natural means of keeping the nervous system in good health. Hard work will not affect a man's health if work is not accompanied with worry and a sense of rush. Ample sleep and judicious rest are absolutely necessary for any man who has to work hard with his brain. So that regular hours and regular sleep are the first things necessary. No wife should expect a busy husband to go in for social life which entails late hours night after night. And the strongest constitution will wear out if the candle is burnt at both ends for any length of time. Eight hours' sleep at night should be the rule, and quiet, restful evenings render a man less liable to succumb to strain if he has to work hard during the day.
The value of occasional holidays to the worker can hardly be over-estimated. No human being can work on continually without a break and not suffer in health. And in the case of a man or woman whose health is run down with overwork, an occasional day in bed may save an illness. We all work better after a brief rest and change, and the mental rest provided by a holiday, which includes change of scene and environment, is its greatest good. The necessary cost is often an economy in the long run.
One of the best means of promoting the health of the husband is to encourage him to take up a hobby. An absorbing, interesting hobby is one of the best means of keeping a man in good health and counteracting the minor worries of daily existence. The fact that a hobby takes up a certain amount of time is no reason for discouraging its cultivation. Change of occupation may be the best form of "rest" from the medical point of view. The man whose life is strained during the day in his office or study requires physiological rest," in the sense of muscular exercise and activity. Many a wife fails to do her best for her husband's health by not encouraging him to devote himself to a hobby in his spare time.
The ideal plan is that the hobby should be mutual between husband and wife, apart from their everyday duties, work, and responsibilities. Now that women are taking up physical culture with such immense benefit to their health, there is no shadow of reason to prevent a wife from cycling, golfing, mountain-climbing, or walking with her husband. The sanest, the best, and the healthiest of all hobbies is pedestrianism. Youth and health can both be achieved by anyone who knows how, when, and where to walk. With the advent of longer days, a five-mile walk daily is the cheapest and most efficacious health measure which can be advised.
Walking as an Exercise
The man who is in good walking training is healthy, fit, and enjoys an immunity from illness which the flabby-muscled, indolent, and self-indulgent people can never know. One of the royal roads to health is by the highways, the country lanes, and the byways unfrequented by the motor. There is no danger of over-straining in walking. It is an ideal exercise for the stout and the thin, the fragile and the robust. Regulated walking exercise is recognised as one of the best means of training the heart when there is any existing heart weakness.
What other healthy hobbies can be recommended for the husband? The outdoor hobby - such as golf, cycling, climbing, or fishing - has many advantages, in that it takes sedentary people out into the fresh air, and makes them use their muscles. But one of the best results of a hobby is its tonic effect upon the mind. An engrossing hobby will cure depression of spirits, irritability of temper, and a tendency to boredom, which are all symptoms of commencing neurasthenia, or arc, at least, evidences of impaired health and vigour. The husband who has a hobby will work more cheerfully at the most monotonous occupation, because all the time he has the anticipation of his golf on Saturday, his photography, or gardening, at the end of a busy day. Variety is the flavour of life. Change of occupation may make a man more able to tackle his everyday work than if he spent his off-time doing nothing. One of the most strenuous brain-workers in London spends his week-end in a country cottage planting cabbages and tending bees. Manual work is a real brain rest for any man whose mind is on the strain, all day. So the wise wife should never regard her husband's hobbies as waste time. Men are grown-up children, who must have their playtime, hours of relaxation, and recreation. It is a health necessity.
The best rules for the wife who wishes to keep her husband in good condition, to ensure him health of mind and body, are these:
(a) Simple, well-cooked meals.
(b) Cheerful conversation.
(c) A restful home.
2. Guard against chill by sensible precautions.
3. Discourage mufflers, overcoats, and heavy wraps.