CHAPTER X: Strengthening the Stomach
One of the first requirements in vitality building is strengthening the stomach. Within the stomach we find the beginning of all vital blood - making processes. Here is where the food first passes through the changes essential to create the life-building fluid called the blood. We therefore cannot exaggerate the importance of strength to this important organ.
When referring to a strong stomach, I do not mean strength in the abdominal muscles lying immediately in front of the stomach; I mean strength of the muscles within the walls of the stomach itself, which, to a large extent, actually constitute the stomach. These layers of muscular fibers which assist in carrying on important parts of the digestive processes must be strong if digestion is to be satisfactory in every way.
Now the work of strengthening the stomach does not, by any means, consist wholly of exercise.
The stomach, in order to be strengthened, must have a due amount of intelligent consideration at all times. For instance, you cannot make a garbage can of your stomach and expect to increase the strength of the organ. It is really necessary, if you are seriously desirous of securing the best results in vitality building, to learn at least the fundamental facts relating to rational dietetics; and, after acquiring this knowledge, to apply it to your individual use throughout every day of your life.
The suggestions that I have offered in the chapter on Cleansing and Stimulating the Alimentary Canal are truly of extreme importance in these strengthening processes. In fact in every instance this plan will increase the assimilative strength, and will enable you to create a better quality of blood; and this result in turn naturally aids in strengthening the stomach itself as well as all other parts of the body. Furthermore, this is a method for cleansing directly not only the organ itself but the various glands which furnish the digestive juices.
Therefore, if difficulties are frequently presented in connection with the functions of this organ, special attention should be given to the elemental cleansing and strengthening processes as outlined in the chapter referred to.
There are various special exercises which will have a certain influence upon the stomach because of their mechanical stimulation of this organ. All bending and twisting movements of the trunk of the body will naturally stimulate the action of the stomach because of their direct mechanical effect. All movements of this sort are naturally valuable under the circumstances, though for a short time after a meal any exercise that is so severe as to interfere with digestion should be avoided. Such interference results when the muscles are used to such an extent that they require greatly increased quantities of blood at a time when a plentiful supply is needed by the stomach to carry on the work of digestion.
All my readers no doubt already understand the necessity for giving the digestive organs every opportunity to carry on their processes for at least one hour after a hearty meal. Bending and body-twisting movements are valuable one hour or more after a meal for strengthening the stomach, but they interfere with digestion if taken immediately thereafter.
For increasing the vigor of this most important organ I would especially recommend the method already referred to for cleansing the alimentary canal and also the exercises which are given in connection therewith in the same chapter. If one is not in possession of a fair amount of strength I would suggest merely the exercises illustrated in Chapter VII to be taken in conjunction with the morning hot-water-drinking regimen.
It should be remembered, however, that for the strengthening of the stomach one must really depend most of all upon a proper diet and the care of the stomach generally, rather than upon any system of exercises intended to invigorate this organ.
To build up a strong stomach a daily plan of life must be followed which requires of the entire body a normal amount of activity, thus demanding and using a fairly liberal supply of nourishment. An active life is always favorable to good digestion, and especially so if it is an out-of-door life for at least a large part of each day, for then an appetite is created demanding of the stomach that healthy activity essential to strength building; in other words, an active and normal life generally is essential to the maintenance of a strong and healthy stomach. The body must be regarded not as an aggregation of parts, but as one complete unit, and anything that affects all parts affects each separate part.
It is quite true that when the stomach is weakened from any cause, it is not wise to overtax it by the ingestion of foods that are difficult to digest. But at the same time a policy of using predigested foods, or others that are suited only to a weak stomach, is not likely to develop a vigorous digestion. It is essential that one should use a proper supply of natural and wholesome foods properly prepared. If this is done and the general rules of rational dietetics are observed, there is no reason why any one should not enjoy the possession of a strong stomach and a vigorous digestion. I cannot, however, place too much emphasis upon the value of outdoor life and general activity and the constitutional benefits that go with them for improving the stomach as well as all other parts of the body.
Vitality Supreme - Table of Contents
Charles Atlas The Man, The Myth and the Muscles