Do I need to exercise to be healthy? This is such a great question. We are constantly bombarded with the importance of exercise. Every health article will agree that the basic principles of healthy living are: eat well, exercise, sleep and drink water. But really, do we have to exercise? And what does that mean anyway? Should we all be walking 10,000 steps a day? My apple watch tells me to stand 12 times a day. Should I be doing that? What about people with disabilities? Are they automatically not healthy because they can’t exercise in the typical fashions? (Obviously, this is a ridiculous rhetorical question.) In this blog post I hope to give you an encouraging perspective on the role of exercise in your life.
One of the most influential people for Fit Theology was not a typical athlete when I met her. She was a runner in her younger years, but when I met her, she could barely move or speak. Lisa Hatteberg, had been slowly declining with multiple sclerosis for many years, but MS didn’t stop Mrs. Lisa from ultimately changing the way I viewed my life and fitness. She would spend hours listening to worship music and praying for as many people as she could. She was a true example of what Fit Theology stands for. You might ask how someone that couldn’t move her body would be the perfect example for a fitness and theology blog. Let me tell you. It is because she used the breath and body she did have, to praise, honor and glorify her Heavenly Father. That’s what it means to be a Christian of fitness. It is about using the body and life you have been given to give praise to our God. (1)
You do not have to be a athlete to show honor and glory through exercise. You simply have to acknowledge, celebrate and steward the body functions you do have. Think of it this way, exercise is an opportunity for celebration and gratitude. We should rejoice for the fact that we are able to move. Exercise is not meant to be a draining chore on your checklist.
I work out because I love it and it is a grateful celebration experience for me. I feel like exercise is an outward expression of glorifying God. Working out is also an opportunity for me to push myself and discover what all God has allowed me to do. For instance I had no idea I would ever be able to do a pull up. But I pushed myself and discovered I could. That was a beautiful opportunity that not everyone has. So I celebrated it as a gift and grace from God. (And believe me, I celebrated my first pull up. I have video footage to prove it.)
For you, it might be different. Maybe a way of grateful celebration is taking 3 deep breaths knowing that God has allowed you to breath today. Breath requires physical effort. That is exercise (2). Another way of grateful celebration is going on a walk knowing that God has allowed you to walk, and God created the ground and sky you are experiencing. Once again walking requires physical effort. That is exercise. So when you feel like you are either doing too much or too little exercise, try to change your perspective on what exercise really is, an opportunity to celebrate and show gratitude to our God. These two things are glorifying to God in themselves.
A Note: I realize that many of you are reading this post because you don’t exercise enough or at least like you think you should. So here’s some advice.
- Start off by altering your perspective on exercise. Remember exercise is an opportunity to show gratitude and celebrate God’s gift. Maybe try praying before you do your physical effort.
- Do a physical effort that you enjoy. Walking, breathing, stretching, basketball. Anything you like to do.
- Be sure to do your physical effort for a reasonable amount of time. The time you set should be an amount that you could do everyday regardless of stressful seasons.
- Try to make it consistent. The Lord gives you abilities daily, enjoy it and celebrate it daily.
I hope this is encouraging for you. It was for me. If you have any comments or questions feel free to leave it in the comments below.
- 1 Cor 6:19-20, 10:31
- Exercise is defined as activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness.