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Here is Day 7.
Your body is a resource.
Let’s start today with some “state of the union” stats on physical health.
- You should get a bare minimum of 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity PLUS muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days a week. Why? This is a (simplified) physical activity guideline from the US Dept. of Health & Human Services for adult health. Disclosure: the preferred number is 150 minutes per week (or 30 minutes, 5 days a week).
- When you exercise, there are real benefits like:
- Better sleep
- Better cognitive function
- Stress relief
- Improvement in mood
- Increased energy
- Plus reduced risk of many diseases and health problems.
The “exercise effect” on mental and emotional health is still being studied (read this) but…come on. Many of us don’t need a science journal to know that we feel, think, and generally-do-life better when our exercise routine is on point.
It is obvious that God gave us our physical bodies as a tool to help us through life. Our body, like our mind and spirit, is an integral part of how we live out our faith.
So why are we ignoring one of our best tools?
Okay, so guess how many U.S. adults are meeting these basic exercise guidelines? Not many.
In 2014, 20.8% of U.S. adults met the 2008 federal physical activity guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities. [Click for Source | PDF Link]
Ugh. That’s harsh. To be kind, let’s pick a slightly more generous statistic, shall we?
For 2014, 49.2% of U.S. adults met the guidelines for aerobic activity. [Click for Source | PDF Link]
Okay, so “almost half” sounds better. And yet…it’s still so far from good.God gave us our physical bodies as a tool to help us in life and faith. So why aren't we using it? Click To Tweet
>>This means half of the country isn’t thinking, feeling, sleeping, or living as well as they could. It’s probably more than half, to be honest, but we’re only thinking about those who may be “under-living” due to lack of physical activity.
>> If these numbers are the same among Christians, half of us aren’t using the physical tool God gave us (exercise of the body) to live out our faith.
>> That means we’re not using a major resource that we have to lift our spirits when we’re feeling down, or to make better decisions on how we represent Christ on a daily basis, or to simply have an increase in energy to pursue God more and more.
I’m likely preaching to the choir here, but let’s bring this home with a verse.
Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. – Romans 6:13 NLT
We focus a lot on how our body can be an “instrument of evil”. Lust. Self-loathing. Gluttony. Laziness. As Christians we are well-versed in all the sinful ways “our flesh”, as they say, can destroy us. Yet it’s likely that more than half of us are forgetting, ignoring, or down-playing the positive role that our God-given bodies can play in our lives and in our faith.
Run to live and love better.
So when you run today or tomorrow, connect the dots of physical and spiritual health. Know that you’re getting more out of your run than a race PR, a weight loss goal, or a few more years to your life. Remember the mental and emotional benefits of your run DO spill over to the spiritual side of you. Ask God to reveal to you, more and more, how you can use your body as an instrument to do what is right for Him.
This is, essentially, where my #NourishTrainGive action plan came from. Read more on that on my About page.
Thanks for reading!
- Go to Day 1 Reliance On God
- Go to Day 2 Thought Discipline
- Go to Day 3 Do The Impossible
- Go to Day 4 When You’re Weary
- Go to Day 5 Struggling Means You’re Trying
- Go to Day 6 Races & Church
FYI: Here is the list of data sources I used all in one place:
- CDC/NCHS National Health Interview Survey, 1997-2004
- 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
- Exercise for Mental Health, US National Library of Medicine
- The Exercise Effect by Kirsten Weir, American Psychological Association