I broke a sweat last night for the first time in over three weeks. It felt so good!
After allowing an injury to heal as well as a myriad of excuses I seem to come up with, it felt so good to get the heart pumping again.
I was reminded why it is good for me on so many levels to get my body moving!
We have to live in a cave not to know that exercise is good for our bodies. Yet, I think it’s important to look at the reasons again.
Exercise can quickly become an idol and we can exercise for all the wrong reasons.
So why should a Christian exercise? Isn’t there more important Kingdom work to be done? How can I fit exercise into an already packed schedule?
Do any of these questions sound familiar?
Let’s tackle the first question.
Why does a Christian need to exercise?
Is it a command?
While there is not a verse in the Bible that says, “Thou shalt get 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least 5 times a week.” Let’s look at what the Bible does say and learn how we can apply that to this question.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.”Romans 12:1
“We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”Ephesians 2:10
God cares about our bodies and we are to be used by Him to do good works.
We are a living sacrifice. If I am going to be used by Him and offer my body, I believe it is important to take good care of the body He gave me.
My body is a gift and I want to be a good steward of this gift.
If I resort to laziness and feed it junk, how is this being a good steward? How am I going to be in the best shape to do the work God has for me?
Jesus didn’t command people to exercise, because it was already a natural way of life. Have you ever stopped to think about how many miles Jesus walked during his ministry? Jesus was constantly on the move teaching, healing, and attending festivals – on foot!
It is too easy to NOT move in our society. Everything is automated. We drive everywhere – even to the gym where we try and get a close parking spot so we don’t have to walk so far! (Or am I the only one?)
If Jesus had time to walk, so do I!
What are the health benefits again?
We’ve heard them before, but sometimes we need a reminder in order to make it a priority.
- Improves your mood.
- Decreases the risk for MANY diseases (type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease just to name a few).
- Improves cognitive function (ahem, yes please as my brain cells seem to seep out the cracks at an alarming speed!)
- Promotes better sleep. We may need to wake up earlier in order to fit exercise in, yet our sleep becomes more efficient and we end up needing less time in our bed.
- Helps the digestive system – a key part in staying “regular” – in addition to water and fiber!
- Increases your energy. Sometimes we don’t feel like we have the energy or time to exercise, yet we are so energized by a workout, we are able to get more accomplished in a day.
- Exercise acts as an instigator of healthy choices. Have you noticed when you exercise you are more likely to eat healthier? When I become lazy, my eating habits show it!
My schedule is completely packed, how do I fit exercise in too?
I can relate to this on too many days!
Yet, when I truly examine my day…I’ve come to some conclusions:
- There were jobs I thought I needed to get done that could have waited or been delegated to a kid.
- I could have arranged my morning differently to fit it in.
- I could have gotten some things done the night before to make morning exercise happen: get my workout clothes laid out, ready to put on as soon as I wake up; got the kitchen cleaned the night before so it wasn’t staring at me in the morning, etc.
- I could have texted a friend to hold me accountable. Relying on my own motivation is not usually a good idea.
- I could have ridden the stationary bike that’s in my living room while watching a show before bed.
Ok, you get the point. Yes, there are days where it just might not fit in. However, if I make it a priority, I can usually find a way.
It takes effort, time and sometimes a little creativity and planning – but getting more movement in our day is so important!
You’ve heard me talk about balance many times before. In all things there needs to be balance!
Exercise can be taken to extreme. Our society puts a huge emphasis on our outward appearance.
Exercise and weightlifting can cause us to put too much focus on our outward appearance and it can become an idol.
When something is an idol in our life it means we are putting more focus and attention on it instead of God.
In proper balance exercise is a means to keep our body in a condition to be best used by God – not to achieve a perfect body type.
I do believe it is ok to want to look good and attractive as gift to our spouse, but it needs to be kept in proper balance. Ask God to help you have a right motive with your exercise goals.
For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”1 Timothy 4:8
What kind of exercise should I do?
I spent the first 7 years out of college educating heart patients and those at risk for heart disease how to improve their health.
We discussed nutrition, exercise, and stress as well as eliminating habits such as smoking.
When it came to exercise, people would always tell me they stayed busy chasing after their kids or were on their feet a lot at work.
Yes – very good. Any movement is better than no movement.
However, the key is to actually get that heart pumping faster than it normally does. That’s how you get stronger and more fit.
There is not a right type of exercise, but it is important to find the exercise that is best for you.
Some of us may have injuries or inabilities that prevent certain exercises.
Running, biking and swimming are all things I love to do. Right now, some bad ankle tendons are preventing me from running. Biking is my next option.
Swimming is also so good. It’s easy on the joints and works so many muscles! Swimming, however, involves a pool which you might not have access to.
We do have a gym membership that we pay a yearly fee that is actually quite reasonable. Even though we don’t live close to it, I feel that even if I can get there once or twice a week during the long winter months, it’s worth it. It’s good for the kids too!
So what do you enjoy doing? What do you need to do to fit it into your schedule or routine? Is there anything you can cut out of your day or delegate to someone else so you have time to exercise?
How hard does the exercise need to be?
I think the easiest way to know how hard to exercise is to use the Rate of Perceived Exertion or RPE scale.
With this scale, you can then use the following chart that shows how many minutes the American Heart Association recommends of the moderate to vigorous types of exercise each week.
Personally I love using a heart rate monitor on my watch. It keeps me from cheating. It’s easy for me to sort of slack off, and still think I’m working moderate to vigorously, only to look at my heart rate and find the truth that no, I’m slacking. I need to pick it up a bit!
Here’s the one I’ve been using, but there are so many out there!
Target Heart Rate
Here’s a little formula to figure out your target heart rate:
220 – age = (Max Heart Rate)
Here’s mine: 220-45 = 175
My max heart rate is approximately 175 bpm.
The American Heart Association recommends exercising at 50-80% of your maximum heart rate. 50% would be about 80 bpm or about a 3 on the RPE scale, while 80% would be about 150 bpm or in the 7-9 RPE range.
When I exercise I usually aim for 130-155 bpm for the main part of the session, with a warm up and cool down around 100 bpm.
Accountability Exercise Challenge!
Who’s up for a little challenge to reignite that exercise routine if it has been neglected lately?
I know I am! I’ve been writing this all week, and I still managed to go too many days without sweating!
Challenge: 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise for 4 weeks, during November 25th – December 23rd.
Keep track of your exercise minutes each week. I will give all participants a 50 % discount on the Balanced Beauties’ Lesson Manual & Planner when that becomes available!
A special bonus will be given to the participant with the most minutes!
Let’s get started on this healthy habit before our New Year’s resolutions!!
Are you in? Fill out the form below! I will have some encouragement for you along the way. Find a partner/buddy that you can check in with each day .