I was shocked when I saw a report by the CDC recently that stated that 80% of Americans don’t get the recommended amount of exercise per week. The U.S. government recommends adults get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, or a combination of both. Adults should also engage in muscle-strengthening activities like lifting weights or doing push-ups at least twice per week. That’s it?!
I have been involved in some sort of exercise my entire life. It began when I was young and I started swimming. I was on a summer swim team from age 5 until I graduated from high school, and competed for my high school team. Was I always a winner? NO! But what I loved about it was the feeling that I was moving my body; and as I was under the water, my mind was free to think about whatever. During my high school years, I began to take up running and found that same feeling of peace as the miles passed and my mind wandered. As I have gotten older, I have kept up with my exercise regimen because it makes me feel good. But I look around and see that even some of my closest friends don’t.
As I reflected on this, I wondered why more people aren’t exercising. Why isn’t it a priority? I turned to the Bible to see what I could find:
“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20 NLT)
I read this as a wake-up call. Are you honoring God with your body? If not, why?
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice — the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” (Romans 12:1 NLT)
If the Bible tells us to let our bodies be a living and holy sacrifice to God, shouldn’t we do our best to take care of them?
Last but not least:
“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13 NLT)
This is my favorite verse, and it reminds me of the time my sons helped judge a fitness competition for wounded warriors. They came home from that event very humble and in awe of what the men and women were able to do, even though their bodies were compromised. Nothing is impossible with God! Set a goal for yourself and pray for guidance as you make a plan to meet that goal.
So as Christians who want to honor and please God, I encourage you to take this as a challenge. Reflect on these words and statistics, and ask yourself if you are one of the 80% of Americans who isn’t exercising enough. If so, make a plan. Start small if you need to; promise to take the stairs instead of an elevator or park farther away from your office each day. Set a long term goal and figure out what you need to do to meet it. Remember, no one wakes up and decides to run a marathon that day!
God will help you and reward your fitness efforts if they are done in His service and not out of vanity or selfishness. Put your trust in God, and He will guide you… just do it!