Thankful for Exercise

Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. — Hebrews 12:11-13

Exercise, for me, is something that’s easily pushed aside on busy days. I’ll waive my yoga routine if it means an extra half-hour of sleep. If it’s too cold, I’m much more tempted to stay inside rather than get out and walk a couple of miles. If I have looming deadlines, I won’t go near the Airdyne. I can find many excuses not to drive that eight miles to the YWCA where we have a family membership. I just sigh and chalk it up to a busy lifestyle and multiple commitments and maybe have another cup of coffee.

When I neglect exercise, I put in motion an unhealthy cycle. The less exercise, the more likely I am to feel additional stress since I am not releasing those lovely endorphins. When I go several days without yoga, my body becomes tight, tense, and stiff. Even my breathing is affected when I neglect the deliberate focus provided by my semi-regular Stretch and Pray routine. The more stressed I’m feeling, the more likely I am to overeat and consume too much caffeine.

I’m trying to rethink my approach to exercise this year and make self-care a real priority. As a pastor and cancer survivor I know the importance of self-care, but I sometimes fail to act on that knowledge. I neglect to show gratitude to my Creator when I fail to properly care for my body, a part of God’s good creation. I neglect to love myself and treat myself as a person of worth and beauty. I also potentially cheat my loved ones of the best I can give them when I fail to properly care for myself.

Exercise is one important part of the good health picture. It is my right and my responsibility to take care of this body. I am thankful to have reasonably good health right now. I am thankful to be able to exercise. Now, I just need to make sure it remains a priority for this year of thanks-living and beyond.

For Further Reflection

Ask yourself these questions and answer them honestly.

  • How often do you exercise?
  • What sort of exercise do you prefer?
  • How important do you believe it is to take good care of your body?
  • Is there a disconnect between what you think and what you do?
  • What changes might you need to make this year to ensure you are getting enough exercise?
  • What one step can you take starting today to take better care of your health through exercise?

Photo by whologwhy used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!

2 thoughts on “Thankful for Exercise

  1. Sharon – Thanks for your article – I couldn’t agree more. Our spiritual and physical bodies need their muscles stretched – otherwise we get flabby both places.

    Have a blessed day,
    Tom Darr

    1. I like that image of “flabby spirituality,” Tom! Maybe that’s part of the problem with so many worshiping communities today–soft and flabby–not taking full advantage of the opportunity for spiritual fitness. Thanks for sharing that image!

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