I can hear the groans now.
Make time for exercise? Really? Like anyone has time for that! Besides, isn't this series about spiritual matters?
Yes, exercise. Really. We all can - and should - make time for it. And yes, our goal for this 31-day challenge is to develop our spiritual muscles and create habit of praise even when circumstances are difficult. But believe it or not, exercise can help toward this goal!
Because our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, staying healthy can be a spiritual discipline as well as a physical one. This will be easier for some than for others, given health issues, body types, and things of that nature.
When I was growing up, I ran. A lot. Even though I hated it. But then I developed a painful, pregnancy-related condition that made running impossible for several years. Now, however, the pain has subsided, and I've been running again. I can't run far, and I certainly don't look pretty doing it. I can only run once or twice a week. But I'm trying to be faithful to exercise on a limited scale instead of just throwing in the gym towel because I can't exercise every day.
I thought running would get easier. For me, it never does. I honestly don't know how much physical benefit I'm getting from running, but I'm certain that it's better than not running at all. And it's done worlds for my spiritual growth.
- I can pray for others as I run
- I get to spend time with my spark plugs while running
- I get to take in God's amazing creation
- I feel happier as a result of exercising (I'm pretty sure this is due to endorphin creation that exercise causes)
Running doesn't have to be your choice for exercise. I once saw a documentary on a woman who could only move her arms from her elbows her to wrists, so her form of exercise was clapping. She kept at it, even though she admitted to feeling very silly, and with a lot of hard work, diligence, and determination, she got to where she regained mobility. She started where she was.
I chose to run because it's free, it's something I can do with my kids, and it gets all of us outside. Something else may be a better fit for you. Just start where you are (and get your doctor's okay to begin exercising if you're not already active).
It's not easy to make time for exercise, but if you're willing to make it a goal, it can benefit both your physical body and spiritual mindset.
Today's action steps: Begin a physician-approved exercise regimen that fits your needs and lifestyle. Whatever level you're at, start there. Then, once a week or once every other week, slightly increase the intensity or duration, taking care to listen to your body's cues (please don't overdo and injure yourself). With slow and steady diligence, you'll see progress!