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by Bubba Jennings
Truth & Lies About Exercise: This Post May Save Your Life
The Myth: Exercise Is For the Overweight
Most of my patients that I see for suspected heart disease are truly clueless about exercise, and I bet you may be too. Here is a quick question to check your exercise IQ: True or false? Overweight people who are physically fit (defined below) are better off than thin people who rarely or never exercise. If you are like my patients, you think this statement is false. Sorry, but that big guy riding his bike to work every day is lapping you if your idea of exercise is turning off the TV by hand instead of using the remote—even if you look like a model.
Exercise For Life
Being overweight is a huge problem in the US, but just as problematic is our flagrant disregard for regular exercise and what it can do for you if done well. Fit people have less depression and rate their quality of life consistently higher. They sleep better too. Fit people, compared to sedentary, have fewer heart attacks and strokes and are more likely to survive if they do have one. Regular exercise leads to longer life on average (comparatively)—and not just longer, better too.
3 Biblical Reasons for Exercise
So maybe you just remembered you have a new pair of running shoes that you got for Christmas... from 2004, and they still look brand new. Don’t worry, it’s never too late to start. But are there biblical reasons why we (especially stressed out pastors) should stay fit? Yes, and here is why:
- Paul wrote to the church in Corinth that our body is God’s temple where his Spirit dwells (1 Cor. 6:19).
- Our bodies are members of Christ and should not be abused (1 Cor 6:15).
- Our body is not our own, it is God’s. How dare we desecrate it on purpose? (1 Cor 6:19-20)
Practically speaking, what pastor doesn’t want to have less depression, better sleep, and more happiness?
3 Wrong Reasons to Avoid Exercise
There are many great reasons to exercise, but our sin drives us to the couch instead of the gym, in several ways:
- Laziness. Pick your Proverb here. We ignore what we know is best for us.
- Ignorance. Not finding out for ourselves what we need to do to stay fit.
- Self-righteous busyness. You know the drill: I just have more important things to do, and I’ll sacrifice this area for my family and church.
6 Tips to Get Started Exercising
Here are some tips to help you get started.
- You only need four 30-minute workout sessions a week, especially if they are effective.
- You do not have to qualify for the Boston Marathon to be healthy and get all the benefits listed above.
- Miserable, difficult, expensive routines will be dropped every time. Pick a plan you enjoy.
- Break a sweat, get your heart rate up, and stay at it for at least 30 minutes per session. Walking fast is great; it’s cheap, efficient and accessible to almost all people.
- Exercise is good for you even if you don't lose weight!
- If you are over age 40, or younger with health problems, talk to your doctor prior to starting an exercise routine.
Take it from this heart doctor who sees what can go wrong. A little bit of sweat is the ounce of prevention you need to keep folks like me out of your life. You will see benefits right away, and you’ll finally take good care of the temple God has given you to steward. Get moving!