The Spirit of Springtime - The Best Time for Good Resolutions - Old Age a Disease - How to Make Ourselves Resistant to Disease - Some Practical Points - A Woman's Looks n one sense people who are perfectly healthy I enjoy an eternal springtime of youth and happiness.
The exuberance, the joy of living, the interest and capacity for work are always with them; and thus they are young whatever their actual years may be. They need neither an elixir of youth nor a prescription for happiness.
Perfect health ensures for them an enjoyment of both. So the spring of the year makes a good text for an article not only on health at this season, but on happiness and prolonged youth also.
Every normal man or woman wants to keep young, healthy, full of vitality; for as many years as possible. The majority of people age twenty years sooner than they need, and pass into the autumn and winter of old age before they have tasted life. Spring is the season of rejuvenation. It is the time of year when everybody feels stirring, a new spirit, an impetus, some hidden, magical, incomprehensible influence which makes for energy and health, but only if it is rightly used and rightly dealt with.
The fact that spring is not the healthiest season of the year - as, according to all commonsense laws it should be - but a period when illness is often rife and people are seedy and depressed, is entirely their own fault. Bad health is always due to ignorance, carelessness, or deliberate neglect. Premature age is dependent upon the same features, and the sooner we all realise the truth of this assertion the healthier and happier we shall become. The spring is the very season when we should determine upon a new regimen of life, health, and prosperity. The season when Nature is awakening is far more the time for good resolutions than the first of January.
So let us cultivate the charm of buoyancy that comes with the spring, but too often soon goes when we allow ourselves to contract some of the ailments and miseries we should avoid. One of the greatest scientists living has declared that we should keep young for twenty years longer; than we do - that old age, as we know it, is a disease due to a specific poison, which can be demonstrated in the laboratory. He says that the poisons of old age are lodged in certain parts of the digestive system and the kidneys. He makes preparations of the poisons or germs and injects them into young monkeys. After three or four weeks he has converted these by his experiments into aged, care-worn, grey-haired, wrinkled apes with every appearance of many years of life and illness behind them. Professor Metchnikoff declares that he has proved that by proper methods of health preservation the springtime and summer of youth can be prolonged for many years. The point is that these germs should be prevented from infecting the system. There is no reason why a woman of forty-five should look a day older than on her twenty-fifth birthday, save that her face has gained in character and expression, and maturity has rounded her form. The man of sixty should be in his early prime, and men and women both should retain their faculties, mental capacity, and interests until ninety years of age.
Now, anyone who has observed life at all must have seen that it is the people who use their health and whatever powers they possess who keep young in mind and body. Sloth and self-indulgence, mental and physical, are the predisposing causes of old age. In spring, all Nature is busy. Activity is everywhere. Sloth
But how few women who spring-clean their houses diligently and efficiently remember the clearing of cobwebs from their minds and spirits! How few determine that spring shall mean to them a new season, a revitalising of their forces! This is the time of year when you must determine to attain to a higher health standard than ever before. It is the season when you can best realise that eternal youth can in many cases be achieved by very simple measures.
The chief of these is health. Supposing one morning you suddenly say to yourself, "I am not so healthy nor so happy nor so fit for work as 1 might be. What is the reason? How can 1 alter my habits and my mode of life to attain to a higher degree of energy and efficiency?" If you do this you will be a wise woman, and you will escape the depression of mind that so many people complain of at this season of year.
Why is influenza so prevalent? Because people allow their health to run down and give the influenza bacillus a chance. In earlier scientific days the bacteriologists taught us that each disease had a special microbe, and that if we came in contact with it we "caught" influenza, diphtheria, or scarlet fever, according to the identity of the germ. Indeed, people began to develop microphobia, and were constantly wasting their energies in avoiding association or contact with the dreaded germs.
I know one woman who is obsessed by the fear of microbes. She detests shaking hands with people in case they may have the germs of something about them (as they certainly have). She discards her clothes when hardly worn, and gets everything she possesses fumigated regularly in the hope of circumventing the microbes she fears. She is a living testimony to the truth of the old saying that "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing," because her fears make her fifty per cent. more likely to fall a prey to the microbes she is trying to avoid.
Further developments in science have altered this. We cannot avoid even the germs of old age, but we can do a great deal to render them powerless. That is the first lesson we must learn in spring. We must determine that we shall be stronger than the microbes, that we shall, by medical commonsense, make ourselves resistant.
Why are we ill in spring? Because we refuse to notice Nature's message, which is this: Get into touch, harmony, and understanding with Nature if you wish to keep well, look young, and preserve your powers as you should.
Spring air is the best of all spring tonics. First, because it acts as a cleanser to the earth's surface. Secondly, because it is light, fresh, laden with sweet scents and healthful properties. Whatever may have been your habits during the winter make them now as "outdoor" as you possibly can.
Form a health resolution to obtain as minimum daily exercise four miles walking, or eight miles cycling, or its equivalent in golf or other games. This you must do even if you live in a town where it may mean getting up an hour earlier and walking to and from your work, whatever the weather may be like.
Fear neither east winds nor spring chills, but live in such a way and clothe yourself sensibly so that you can resist them. A cold sponge all over the body in the morning is one of the best means to this end. The skin, by being always covered and protected is in danger of losing its power of resisting cold unless we adopt some measure such as this.
Begin at once a new hobby of some sort. If you do this you will escape depression of mind and body, which people so wrongly attribute to the spring. The real truth of the matter is that in spring you ought to begin new activities according to Nature's laws, and, if you do not, you are bored and depressed. Energy generates energy, and by taking up some new work you increase your powers in all directions. When you go out on a cold spring day, after tumbling out of bed and taking a hasty breakfast, over-clothed, shivering in mind and body, oppressed by a nameless something, you run every chance of contracting influenza. You get into a 'bus and sit next to somebody who is coughing and choking, and spreading the influenza bacillus all around him. You know that you will catch infection from him, and of course you do.
Supposing, on the other hand, you get up earlier, have a tepid bath and cold sponge, do a few exercises, eat quietly, and masticate carefully your breakfast, and walk in light garments and stout boots, even through the rain and east winds, you will feel all the better for it.
A Woman's Looks
Good health makes far more difference to the actual age as well as the appearance than people realise. Make a delicate, nervy woman healthy and fit, and she sheds five or ten years in as many weeks. Keep a man of fifty sound in his digestion, his arteries free from gout, which is due to the accumulation of toxins from insufficient exercise and improper diet, and you make him actually fifteen years younger than his colleague who lives unhygienically, and makes no effort to keep fit.
Spring is the time of year when a woman should look her best, and when her appearances are so apt to be at their worst. "East winds always give me indigestion." "The weather is so unreliable that my skin is always rough, and every year I suffer from blotches and rashes in the spring." "I am always depressed at this season of the year." It is not the spring at all, but their own blindness, ignorance, and folly. The ills of the complexion are due to an overladen digestion. And lighter diet and more exercise would make all the difference in ninety per cent. of cases.
So make up your mind to two things.
That you will "wake up" to a more common-sense understanding of what ensures health. Determine to get rid of the poisons that are responsible for all the spring ailments in existence by spring-cleaning your whole system. Fresh air for the lungs, lighter food for the digestive organs to deal with, more exercise to rid the muscles and the blood of poisons are what you need.
Secondly, cleanse your mind of the cobwebs which accumulate through the years. Suggest to yourself that you are not going to get into habits of slackness and self-indulgence. Take up new interests, study new subjects, get in touch with new people, make yourself more efficient in every way. Thus will you find the elixir of health.