Physically Healthy Habits: Exercise

health diagram by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

I had been working out twice a day getting ready for my family’s annual cruise. I was doing extreme cardio in the morning and resistance training in the evening, but I couldn’t seem to get my body where I wanted it. Then the blood type diet suggested that I try yoga or light walks, so I tried both. My entire world changed as I felt stress leave my body and watched the weight drop off effortlessly. I wasn’t pushing myself like others did, but I felt good and my body felt the best it had ever felt! And while I don’t have a set schedule for when or how I do yoga these days, I know that when I’m feeling blah or need a little extra energy, I can pop in a yoga DVD or take a low-impact walk somewhere to clear my head and release stress.

The first thought anyone has about being physically healthy is always that we need to exercise. And while it’s true that our sedentary lifestyle has contributed to us being less physically healthy, we don’t have to accept that as the norm! Here are three thoughts to remember about the role exercise can play in your life:

  • Exercise is what you make of it. Sometimes, I do yoga. Sometimes, I just walk a lot around the building at my part-time job, making conversation while I walk up and down the stairs running errands. Other times, I take leisurely walks around my neighborhood. I don’t have a prescribed thing that I constantly do, because I don’t always want to get up super early or have time to do yoga. But I can always be moving. I can turn housework into exercise if I want to! Back in Jesus’ time, they didn’t have exercise studios—they just walked everywhere. They didn’t create a special time to exercise, it was just a part of their everyday life. This is a challenge for our incredibly sedentary lifestyles, but a good one to consider. So how can you make exercise a part of your everyday life?
  • Start small and work your way up. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you won’t run in a marathon right away. You have to begin with a small goal that becomes a habit, and then keep increasing it if your goal is bigger. To begin, try walking ten minutes a day, every day. Or practicing yoga for fifteen minutes a day, three days a week. Substitute cleaning your house for one day of exercise. Play tennis or golf for an hour two days a week. These are small goals that can be easily met by giving up a television show or by skipping a Facebook check. The Bible encourages us to be faithful in the little things so that we can then be faithful in larger things (Luke 16:10), so how can you start small with exercising this week?
  • Every body is different. Not only are we different emotionally and spiritually, but we are different physically. My mom walks briskly with tons of arm movement to get benefits—she needs a high amount of cardio. I walk at a more moderate pace, elevating my heart rate only slightly to achieve the same results. Your body’s needs are different than anyone else’s because you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139)! You are unique, and it is part of your personal journey to figure out what your body needs for exercise. In addition, remember that every body IS different—different shapes and sizes. Aim for a healthier and better you, not the “you-version” of someone else. No one is perfect, and physical perfection should not be your goal. Your goal is to be the best you! So what does that mean for you?

I am not perfect in the area of exercise, but I am always challenging myself to improve in this area. However, I also accept myself, flaws and all, and try to be the best me I can be at all times! As I renew my personal goals to move more, I’m going to start small this week with 10-15 minutes, for at least three days. Will you join me?

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