My husband has always been disciplined about keeping fit, but he never said a word about it when I stopped exercising during my children’s toddler years. His workouts have changed, though–where he once spent most of a workout lifting weights, he now focuses on bodyweight exercises and cycling, which are easier on his joints and feet. He is leaner and more fit than ever, and I am so proud of his efforts.
Once my children were well past the toddler stage (okay, my two oldest are teenagers), I knew I needed to begin working out again (see Taking Care of the Temple, Part 1), for myself as well as my family, all of whom love to exercise in one form or another, and all of whom need me to be happy and healthy.
“So, what should I do?” I asked my husband. “How should I get back into shape?”
“Even if you start with just ten minutes a day, you’ll see a difference,” he said. “I promise. Find someone on YouTube that you like and go from there.”
The first month was discouraging. I could barely do a proper lunge or pushup, and I could NOT keep up with a HIIT workout. Constant soreness make it difficult to climb the stairs or even scramble eggs! My daughter, who is a super fit ballet dancer, teased me about my gasping and grunting (but she also worked out with me, bless her). But slowly, I began to see improvement. I remember ending a workout in tears one day not because I couldn’t complete it, but because I finally had.
The Apostle Paul says that “bodily exercise profiteth little” (I Timothy 4:8), as he rightly preferred to focus on the inner man. I can imagine what Paul saw in the arenas of Rome, because he alluded in the epistles to races as a metaphor for the Christian life (I Corinthians 9:24). He must have seen those athletes as disciplined specimens of mankind, but for what purpose? Their efforts to perfect their bodies would be for naught if their souls were not saved.
Yet, I find that another of Paul’s writings describes one of my reasons for physical exercise. In 1 Corinthians 6:19, he says, “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” My body was not only created by God, and a gift from God, but it houses the Holy Spirit, that Person of the Godhead Who resides in the body of every believer.
So, I feel as though I should take care of His temple, and for me, exercise is a large part of that. It not only strengthens my body, but it clears my mind, steadies my spirit, and prepares me to face my day. When I’m done each time, I thank God that my body is healthy and whole and strong.
What does exercise do for you? What type of exercise do you enjoy? I’d enjoy hearing from you.