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Mind, Character and Personality, volume 1

Chapter 14

Exercise

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The Law of Obedient Action.-All the heavenly beings are in constant activity, and the Lord Jesus, in His practical lifework, has given an example for every man. God has established in the heavens the law of obedient action. [Note: The law of obedient action is worthy of careful study. Action not only advances physical health but brings us into harmony with others and with the universe.] Silent but ceaseless, the objects of His creation do their appointed work. The ocean is in constant motion. The springing grass, "which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven," does its errand, clothing the fields with beauty. The leaves are stirred by the wind, and yet no hand is seen to touch them. The sun, moon, and stars are useful and glorious in fulfilling their appointed mission. And man, his mind and body created in God's own similitude, must be active in order to fill his appointed place. Man is not to be idle. Idleness is sin.-Lt 103, 1900. (SpT Series B, No. 1, pp 29, 30.)

Machinery of Body Must Continue Its Work.-Study the Lord's plan in regard to Adam, who was created pure, holy, and healthy. Adam was given something to do. He was to use the organs God had given him. He could not have been idle. His brain must work, not in a mechanical way, like a mere machine. At all times the machinery of the body continues its work; the heart throbs, doing its regular, appointed task like a steam engine, forcing its crimson current unceasingly to all parts of the body. Action, action, is seen pervading the whole living machine. Each organ must do its appointed work. If physical inaction is continued, there will be less and less activity of the brain.-Lt 103, 1900.

Exercise in the Open Air.-The whole system needs the invigorating influence of exercise in the open air. A few hours of manual labor each day would tend to renew the bodily vigor and rest and relax the mind.-Testimonies for the Church 4:264, 265 (1876).

Air, air, the precious boon of heaven which all may have, will bless you with its invigorating influence if you will not refuse it entrance. Welcome it, cultivate a love for it, and it will prove a precious soother of the nerves. Air must be in constant circulation to be kept pure. The influence of pure, fresh air is to cause the blood to circulate healthfully through the system. It refreshes the body and tends to render it strong and healthy, while at the same time its influence is decidedly felt upon the mind, imparting a degree of composure and serenity. It excites the appetite, renders the digestion of food more perfect, and induces sound and sweet sleep.-Testimonies for the Church 1:702 (1868).

Inactivity a Fruitful Cause of Disease.-Inactivity is a fruitful cause of disease. Exercise quickens and equalizes the circulation of the blood, but in idleness the blood does not circulate freely, and the changes in it, so necessary to life and health, do not take place. The skin, too, becomes inactive. Impurities are not expelled as they would be if the circulation had been quickened by vigorous exercise, the skin kept in a healthy condition, and the lungs fed with plenty of pure, fresh air. This state of the system throws a double burden on the excretory organs, and disease is the result.-The Ministry of Healing, 238 (1905).

Judicious Regulation of Exercise.-Well-directed physical exercise, using the strength but not abusing it, would prove an effective remedial agent.-MS 2, 1870.

Prevents the Mind From Becoming Overworked.-Physical labor will not prevent the cultivation of the intellect. Far from it. The advantages gained by physical labor will balance a person and prevent the mind from being overworked. The toil will come upon the muscles and relieve the wearied brain. There are many listless, useless girls who consider it unladylike to engage in active labor. But their characters are too transparent to deceive sensible persons in regard to their real worthlessness....

It does not require a frail, helpless, overdressed, simpering thing to make a lady. A sound body is required for a sound intellect. Physical soundness and a practical knowledge of all the necessary household duties will never be hindrances to a well-developed intellect; both are highly important for a lady.-Testimonies for the Church 3:152 (1872).

Without Exercise, Mind Cannot Be in Working Order.-For a healthy young man, stern, severe exercise is strengthening to brain, bone, and muscle. And it is an essential preparation for the difficult work of a physician. Without such exercise the mind cannot be in working order. It cannot put forth the sharp, quick action that will give scope to its powers. It becomes inactive. Such a youth will never, never become what God designed he should be. He has established so many resting places that he becomes like a stagnant pool. The atmosphere surrounding him is charged with moral miasma.-Lt 103, 1900.

Mental Effort Restricted When Physical Exercise Neglected.-Those who are engaged in constant mental labor, whether in study or preaching, need rest and change. The earnest student is constantly taxing the brain, too often while neglecting physical exercise, and as the result, the bodily powers are enfeebled and mental effort is restricted. Thus the student fails of accomplishing the very work that he might have done had he labored wisely.-Gospel Workers, 173 (1893).

Equalize Mental and Physical Taxation.-Equalize the taxation of the mental and the physical powers, and the mind of the student will be refreshed. If he is diseased, physical exercise will often help the system to recover its normal condition. When students leave college, they should have better health and a better understanding of the laws of life than when they enter it. The health should be as sacredly guarded as the character.-Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 82, 83, 1890. (Child Guidance, 343.)

Exercise Is a Remedial Agent.-When invalids have nothing to occupy their time and attention, their thoughts become centered upon themselves, and they grow morbid and irritable. Many times they dwell upon their bad feelings until they think themselves much worse than they really are and wholly unable to do anything.

In all these cases well-directed physical exercise would prove an effective remedial agent. In some cases it is indispensable to the recovery of health. The will goes with the labor of the hands, and what these invalids need is to have the will aroused. When the will is dormant, the imagination becomes abnormal, and it is impossible to resist disease.-The Ministry of Healing, 239 (1905).

The Do-Nothing System Is a Dangerous One.-The do-nothing system is a dangerous one in any case. The idea that those who have overtaxed their mental and physical powers, or who have broken down in body and mind, must suspend activity in order to regain health is a great error. There are cases where entire rest for a time will ward off serious illness, but in the case of confirmed invalids it is seldom necessary.-MS 2, 1870.

Inactivity Greatest Curse on Most Invalids.-Inactivity is the greatest curse that could come upon most invalids. This is especially true of those whose troubles have been caused or aggravated by impure practices.

Light employment in the direction of useful labor, while it does not tax mind or body, has a happy influence upon both. It strengthens the muscles, improves the circulation, and gives the invalid the satisfaction of knowing that he is not wholly useless in this busy world. He may be able to do but little at first; but he will soon find his strength increasing, and the amount of work done can be increased accordingly.

Physicians often advise their patients to take an ocean voyage, to go to some mineral spring, or to visit different places for change of climate, in order to regain health, when in nine cases out of ten if they would eat temperately and take cheerful, healthful exercise, they would become well and would save time and money.-Und MS 90. (See The Ministry of Healing, 240 [1905].)

Exercise Must Be Systematic (counsel to an invalid mother).-The Lord has given you a work to do which He does not propose to do for you. You should move out from principle, in harmony with natural law, irrespective of feeling. You should begin to act upon the light that God has given you. You may not be able to do this all at once, but you can do much by moving out gradually in faith, believing that God will be your helper, that He will strengthen you.

You could exercise in walking and in performing duties requiring light labor in your family and not be so dependent upon others. The consciousness that you can do will give you increased strength. If your hands were more employed and your brain less exercised in planning for others, your physical and mental strength would increase. Your brain is not idle, but there is not corresponding labor on the part of the other organs of the body.

Exercise, to be of decided advantage to you, should be systematized and brought to bear upon the debilitated organs that they may become strengthened by use. The movement cure [massage] is a great advantage to a class of patients who are too feeble to exercise. But for all who are sick to rely upon it, making it their dependence, while they neglect to exercise their muscles themselves, is a great mistake.-Testimonies for the Church 3:76 (1872).

Present Flood of Corruption Result of Abused Bodies and Minds.-The flood of corruption that is sweeping over our world is the result of the misuse and abuse of the human machinery. Men, women, and children should be educated to labor with their hands. Then the brain will not be overtaxed, to the detriment of the whole organism.-Lt 145, 1897.

Taxation of Mind and Body Tends to Prevent Impure Thoughts.-The proportionate taxation of the powers of mind and body will prevent the tendency to impure thoughts and actions. Teachers should understand this. They should teach students that pure thoughts and actions are dependent on the way in which they conduct their studies. Conscientious actions are dependent on conscientious thinking. Exercise in agricultural pursuits and in the various branches of labor is a wonderful safeguard against undue brain taxation. No man, woman, or child who fails to use all the powers God has given him can retain his health. He cannot conscientiously keep the commandments of God. He cannot love God supremely and his neighbor as himself.-Lt 145, 1897.

Some Manual Work Each Day.-The light given me is that if our ministers would do more physical labor, they would reap blessings healthwise.... It is a positive necessity to physical health and mental clearness to do some manual work during the day. Thus the blood is called from the brain to other portions of the body.-Lt 168, 1899. (Evangelism, 660, 661.)

Every Student Should Exercise.-Every Student should devote a portion of each day to active labor. Thus habits of industry would be formed and a spirit of self-reliance encouraged, while the youth would be shielded from many evil and degrading practices that are so often the result of idleness. And this is all in keeping with the primary object of education, for in encouraging activity, diligence, and purity we are coming into harmony with the Creator.-Patriarchs and Prophets, 601 (1890).

The physical as well as the religious training practiced in the schools of the Hebrews may be profitably studied. The worth of such training is not appreciated. There is an intimate relation between the mind and the body, and in order to reach a high standard of moral and intellectual attainment the laws that control our physical being must be heeded. To secure a strong, well-balanced character, both the mental and the physical powers must be exercised and developed. What study can be more important for the young than that which treats of this wonderful organism that God has committed to us and of the laws by which it may be preserved in health?-Patriarchs and Prophets, 601 (1890).

Physical Exercise Gives Life.-When the body is inactive, the blood flows sluggishly, and the muscles decrease in size and strength....Physical exercise and a free use of air and sunlight-blessings which Heaven has abundantly bestowed on all-would give life and strength to many an emaciated invalid....

Work is a blessing, not a curse. Diligent labor keeps many, young and old, from the snares of him who "finds some mischief still or idle hands to do." Let no one be ashamed of work, for honest toil is ennobling. While the hands are engaged in the most common tasks, the mind may be filled with high and holy thoughts.-The Youth's Instructor, February 27, 1902. (HC 223.)