ON DOMESTIC EXERCISE.by@catharinebeecher


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In the preceding chapters, we have noticed the various causes, which, one or all, operate to produce that melancholy delicacy and decay of the female constitution, which are the occasion of so much physical and mental suffering throughout this Country. These, in a more condensed form, may be enumerated thus: A want of exercise, inducing softness in the bones, weakness in the muscles, inactivity in the digestive organs, and general debility in the nervous system: A neglect of the care of the skin, whereby the blood has not been properly purified, and the internal organs have been weakened: A violation of the laws of health, in regard to food, by eating too much, too fast, and too [Pg 129]often; by using stimulating food and drinks; by using them too warm or too cold; and by eating that which the power of the stomach is not sufficient to digest: A neglect of the laws of health, in regard to clothing, by dressing too tight, and by wearing too little covering, in cold and damp weather, and especially by not sufficiently protecting the feet: A neglect to gain a proper supply of pure air, in sleeping apartments and schoolrooms, and too great a confinement to the house: The pursuit of exciting amusements at unseasonable hours, and the many exposures involved at such times: And lastly, sleeping by day, instead of by night, and protracting the hours of sleep, beyond the period of repose demanded for rest; thus exhausting, instead of recruiting, the energies of the system. But all the other causes, combined, probably, do not produce one half the evils, which result from a want of proper exercise. A person who keeps all the functions of the system in full play, by the active and frequent use of every muscle, especially if it be in the open air, gains a power of constitution, which can resist many evils that would follow from the other neglects and risks detailed. This being the case, there can be no subject, more important for mothers and young ladies to understand, than the influence on the health, both of body and mind, of the neglect or abuse of the muscular system.
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Catharine Esther Beecher

Trailblazing American educator, advocated female education and kindergarten integration.

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