Saturday, July 9, 2011

THE WAY TO LIVE - (Circa 1908) - Chapter 6 - REST AND WHOLESOME SLEEP - By George Hackenschmidt

The natural invigorating remedy for an exhausted body is rest, both in the physical as in the mental direction, and a healthy sleep. This is the only means by which the various organs and muscles may rid themselves of the "fatigue poison" and collect and develop fresh energy.

I have already touched on the necessity of controlling one's thoughts and the method of doing so, and would now refer to a few dispositions of mind which are very detrimental; these are excitement, worry, fretting and anger. Avoid violent emotion, also gambling, worry about unavoidable or unalterable situations, etc. All these emotions draw blood into the brain, and thus cause a weakening of the other organs used for work and movement. Be careful in the choice of literature. Here also avoid excess and especially erotic novels.

To obtain a sound sleep, the regulation of the proper functions of the intestines and the skin is necessary above everything else.

He who takes daily and thorough exercise in the open will hardly be plagued by sleeplessness. It is advisable to observe as far as possible regular hours for sleep. Sleep during night is better than during daytime. Seven to nine hours suffice amply, and here again too much is unwholesome. Nervous people or those who work too much with the brain, would do well to rest once or twice a day for about one quarter to half and hour after a meal.

Dwelling Rooms

Unhealthy dwelling rooms are very injurious. Bedrooms, in particular, should be well-ventilated and exposed to sunlight. I should recommend every father of a family to arrange his dwelling so that the largest and best situated rooms are used as bedrooms, seeing that one-third of one's life is spent there.

Damp walls, damp bed clothes, and the like are to be rigorously avoided, and care in this direction cannot be too greatly insisted upon. The least evils which bring are gout, rheumatism, colds, etc.

Heavy curtains in bedrooms should be avoided, also large carpets, which cannot easily be cleaned. Both harbour dust and impurities. Small curtains should frequently be washed.


Clothes should not be too warm or too tight, in order to allow free action to the function of the skin, and to the development of the several parts of the body. Corsets and tight boots are no good for a physical culturist. A very good material for clothing, if it were not too dear, is silk, after that comes good linen (most suitable for underwear), wool, and cotton.

I have now made mention of the principal items which act beneficially or detrimentally upon the physical development of man, among which there are many recommendations with which the reader is no doubt familiar, but which cannot be repeated too often. I admit that these counsels may seem superfluous to some, but their careful observance will help one to not only keep well, but to gain the physical strength which, I believe, to be the goal of my readers.

I have come across all sorts of conditions of people among the many who have asked my advice or opinion on different subjects, and on my own principles for the attainment of the strength and muscular development which gained for me such reputation as I may possess, either as a wrestler or as an athlete.

I have seen would-be athletes, who cared most for the exterior of their bodies, and others who were faddists or cranks; these people would try all sort of novelties in dress, diet, apparatus, food, etc. They fell from one extreme into the other, and believed that they could become strong by easy and comfortable means, forgetting that there are only two principal means of acquiring strength--exercise and perseverance.

Iron Nation
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