Why is it we can be the most informed, educated people in the history of the world and still don’t do the things we know are best for us?
We know all kinds of things are good for us and will make us healthier. Things like eating healthy foods and exercising. Being grateful and speaking encouragement. Taking our thoughts captive, spending daily time with the Lord…
So why is it such a battle to choose those good things, and not such a battle to default to the easy things?
Well, the world we live in isn’t just a natural world—it’s also a spiritual world. When sin entered the picture, the battle began.
But that doesn’t mean we just give in. We engage. We continue to battle laziness and busyness…and the other excuses we have for not getting and staying fit!
Most of us in First World countries need times of regular exercise in order to stay fit. But the mindset is so often that exercise is only for athletes or for those trying to lose weight (or maintain a healthy weight).
Physical fitness, though, is a major boost for whole-person health, not just physical health!
Let’s start there…
We Need Good Physical Health
It used to be it was just us older folks who needed the reminder to keep moving. Nowadays, though, with the hours and hours in front of screens instead of outdoors, even kids need it.
Our body is designed to move. God made it that way. It’s a functional marvel, actually. But when we don’t move, when we’re mostly sedentary, our body doesn’t respond well.
And the older we get the more important it is to commit to being at least at a minimal level of fitness.
Recent studies show that a sedentary lifestyle is even worse for us than obesity. (And of course a sedentary lifestyle also makes obesity more likely.)
(Just Google “dangers of a sedentary lifestyle” and you’ll find page after page of online articles.)
We don’t have to train like Olympians, but we need to move our bodies—a lot.
Some of that movement needs to increase our heart rate, make us sweat a little and make us to breathe harder. Some of it needs to work our muscles to build strength. Some of it just needs to be moving—gardening, doing stairs, walking from a further parking spot.
As followers of Jesus, doing what we can to keep our bodies healthy is part of stewardship. How many people have been sidelined in ministry, influence and impact by poor physical health?
Sometimes health challenges are out of our control. But according to stats from the medical community, most of them are lifestyle-related. That means our choices have a lot to do with it.
Let’s move on…
We Need Good Mental Health
Guess what you’ll find if you Google “benefits of physical activity on mental health”? Page after page of online articles explaining why this is true.
There is more and more evidence that physical movement helps us even out mental challenges like depression, anxiety, mood swings and tension. And it increases good things like mental clarity, creativity and memory.
Who doesn’t want that?
You know what happens when you take time to move your body everyday? You get physically fit and you invest in your mental health.
I’ve had people tell me they were able to get off meds for their mental health challenges when they committed to regular physical activity (especially when doing it outside—which is another blog post).
We Need Good Emotional Health
Exercise is known to release endorphins—“happy chemicals”—in our body that combat depression and moodiness and help lift our spirits. They can increase enthusiasm, self-esteem, gratitude, confidence, contentment.
Let’s face it, when our physical health and mental health are solid, they boost overall feelings of well-being and satisfaction. Good choices breed other good choices!
Who doesn’t want that?
Healthy thinking and emotions do wonders for our relationships, too. Whether at home, with friends, at work, school or church—people love being around people who are emotionally healthy.
When the Lord designed the human body, He made it so all these parts of us are interrelated. Let’s take advantage of that!
We Need Good Spiritual Health
Let’s think about this: Living a biblical lifestyle includes giving thanks in every situation, rejoicing always, not being overwhelmed by fear and anxiety, believing God’s word that He loves us and will never leave us…and the list goes on.
And if He created our bodies to help us do all that naturally just by engaging those bodies in regular physical activity…
Why not make it easier on ourselves to rejoice, give thanks, fear not, be at peace, love ourselves and others?
So this time we invest (not spend) in physical activity—whether on the trails, in the gym, in a kayak or on a bike—is an investment in our whole-person health.
It’s not just for athletes. It’s not just to lose weight or maintain weight.
It’s part of stewardship. We get one body during our time on earth. How are you taking care of yours?