Why We Need to Get and Stay Fit

Cross country skiing in northern Minnesota (photo courtesy of Jenny Granovsky)

Why is it that we can be the most informed, educated people in the history of the world and still refuse to do the things we know are best for us?

Maybe refuse isn’t the right word…or the nice word. But really, that’s what it comes down to.

We know all kinds of things are good for us and will make us healthier — eating our fruits and vegetables, exercising, being grateful, speaking encouragement instead of gossip, 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?

I won’t try to answer that, other than remind us 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 and continue to battle laziness and busyness…or whatever excuse we keep giving for not keeping fit.

Physical health

Can we all agree that being physically fit is good for our overall health?

The older we get, the more important it is to commit to being at least at a minimal level of fitness. Recent studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle is even worse for us physically than obesity.

Maybe I should repeat that: A sedentary lifestyle is worse for us than obesity.

Just Google “dangers of a sedentary lifestyle” and you’ll find page after page of online articles.

And of course a sedentary lifestyle also makes obesity more likely.

We don’t have to train like an Olympian, but we need to move our bodies…a lot. And some of that movement needs to increase our heart rate, make us sweat a little and cause us to breathe harder.

Outdoor recreation for women
Keeping physically fit means we can enjoy outings in nature more without risk of injury or overdoing it.

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 fitness helps us even out mental issues like depression, anxiety, mood swings and tension. And it increases mental clarity, creativity and memory.

Who doesn’t want that?

Emotional health

Exercise is known to release endorphins  — “happy chemicals” — in our body that combat depression and moodiness and help lift our spirits.

It can increase enthusiasm, self-esteem, gratitude.

Who doesn’t want that?

Spiritual health

Let’s think about it…if living a biblical lifestyle includes giving thanks in every situation, rejoicing always, not giving in to fear and worry, believing God’s word that He loves us and will never leave us…

And if He created our bodies to help us do all that naturally just by engaging those same 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?

I don’t know if that makes sense to you…but it sure makes sense to me. I need all the help I can get!

I’m not saying physical fitness should be the focus of our lives. But if God designed our bodies to need fitness in order to function properly physically, mentally and emotionally — it should be a focus.

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