By Joel Comiskey, Living in Victory, 2022
Paul said to Timothy, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:8). Paul tells us that exercise does have value and that godliness should also be considered a high value for Christians who desire to be faithful followers.
Exercising regularly is essential for optimal health. God has made the body to exercise, to move around. The term couch potato describes a person who spends little or no time exercising and a great deal of time watching television. Couch potatoes sit at work, sit in their car, and then sit while watching TV. This combination of sitting and not exercising increases the risk of dying by 37 percent, according to a study of 123,216 people who were followed over a fourteen-year period.
Any exercise is better than none. Granted, the best type of exercise is strenuous enough to get the blood pumping to strengthen the heart, which includes walking, running, jogging, dancing, swimming, and just about anything that keeps the body moving. Paige Waehner, a personal trainer, writes:
If you hate gym workouts, don’t force yourself onto a treadmill. Walk, jog, or bike outdoors to enjoy the scenery. If you like socializing, consider sports, group fitness, working out with a friend, or a walking club. Choose something you can see yourself doing at least three days a week. To meet the exercise recommendations, you need to do cardio three days per week. Make it easier to be motivated by choosing an activity that will be convenient for you to do that often, at least until you’ve formed the habit (www.verywellfit.com)
Running was my exercise of choice for most of my life. I ran consistently for several miles in the morning. I even trained for and completed a half-marathon. Then I developed a “runner’s hernia” (Inguinal hernia) in 2011. The doctor who operated suggested that I trade in my running for walking. I took his advice.
Since 2011, my goal is walking 14,000 steps per day, and I usually come close to fulfilling this. When I exercise, my mind is more in tune, and I can accomplish much more for his glory. Just the opposite occurs when I sit for long periods without walking.
Most people, however, don’t need to average 14,000 steps per day. One Harvard study of nearly 17,000 women concluded that those who walked 7,500 steps or more had the lowest mortality rate. Even women who walked 4,400 steps had a lower mortality rate than those who were the least active and walked only about 2,000 steps.
Some people find trainers to guide them in the exercise process. I commend this type of commitment and all those who exercise regularly and seriously. The key is getting off the couch and getting the body moving.
While we’re on this earth and in a physical body, God desires that we keep it as healthy as possible. We can live far more victoriously when our bodies are alert, vibrant, and responding to the Holy Spirit’s direction.