Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Physical Fitness

The Bible in I Corinthians 6:9 reminds us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and that we are to honor God with our bodies. This has a number of implications and taking care of our health is certainly one of them.

I have not written about physical fitness before but this seems like a good time. As I see some of the evidence around me such as the huge amounts of money spent on health care related to obesity and poor eating habits, and even chubby folks passing themselves off as fitness coaches, I decided I should try to encourage some of you with a little of my story.

I bought a new car in 1984. When I reached under the car and pulled on a wrench on the oil drain plug at the first oil change, I sprang my shoulder. We were leaving for vacation and I spent the week skiing nursing a sore shoulder. I was 36 years old. That is when I realized that youth was no longer on my side.

When we returned home, I joined Gold’s Gym, enlisted a fitness coach for a short time to get the basics down, and set out on a disciplined routine. I began a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in fat. I worked out with weights and on cardio equipment three times a week and got plenty of rest. I also subscribed to wellness and medical newsletters to learn about, and stay up on, the latest in fitness ideas. I have continued this routine faithfully through the years.

In the last 26 years, I have never missed a day of work due to illness, I have never been treated by a doctor or been in a hospital, and I take no medications. My weight has varied less than 10 pounds.

I realize that with a sample size of one and no control group, this is hardly a scientific study, but for an experiment of one in healthy living and consistent exercise, I believe that I have been successful.

I am sometimes accused of preaching the gospel of physical fitness, but now is the time to start encouraging my friends to take better care of themselves. I realize that it is very difficult to start improving your health if you are already over weight or in poor condition. The best thing to do is to start with good habits when you are young, so that you never have to spend the time and effort needed to break old habits and overcome years of neglect. But one can start anytime.

The best time to start living a healthy lifestyle was probably twenty or thirty years ago. The next best time is today.

If you are fifty pounds overweight and get winded climbing a flight of stairs, I am sorry, I don’t know what to tell you. I have never had that experience. If you are in good shape now, keep up the good work. My experience has been that it takes more effort to stay in top physical condition as our bodies’ age, but it is worth it.