12 Spiritual Reasons to Exercise Regularly
There are many reasons why people chose either to or not to exercise. But most of the time, those reasons don’t have too much to do with God. In reality, there are many spiritual reasons why exercise is beneficial to us. In fact, exercise can be considered a spiritual practice that honors God. Let’s explore 12 spiritual reasons why we should all consider adding regular exercise to our weekly routines.
To keep yourself healthy.
Our lives are a gift and when we take care of our bodies through healthy choices, we are honoring God. We take care of our bodies when we give them good fuel (food and drink), and do routine maintenance (exercise). Wisdom tells us to take care of the body we are given, because we only get one and it will eventually wear out.
To discipline yourself.
The Bible is filled with verses that discuss discipline. One of my favorites is Hebrews 12: 11, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” In today’s world, many people often prefer to choose freedom to discipline. But, as the scripture says, when you sow seeds of discipline, you produce righteousness and peace. I don’t know about you, but I can sure use more peace in my life!
To stay physically attractive to your spouse.
This third reason is very practical. If we’re married, God desires us to stay married to our mate. Marriages are not always easy and can end for many reasons. So, we need to do what we can to keep the relationship together. When we don’t take care of ourselves and look our best, eyes can stray. Then the guy or gal across the hall may start to look more attractive and before you know it, a desire for something better may kick in. Take care of yourself, and keep your mate’s eyes on you.
To be prepared for anything God calls you to do.
If you truly want to be available for any job that the Lord might need you to do, you’ll have to be physically fit enough to do any job. We don’t get to choose what we were designed for or what specific task God may need us to complete. If that were the case, we’d probably all choose something that we would consider enjoyable. Things like being a cruise director, Hawaiian tour guide, or a member of the beach patrol might be high on the list. But, what would the world be like with no one to complete difficult, or unpleasant tasks? As a nurse, I know I’ve cleaned up more bodily fluids than I ever could have imagined. It’s not something I would have chosen to do. But I’m sure most of the sick clients I cared for appreciated my availability.
To set an example for children.
Whether you have children personally or not, the children in our world need good role models. There are plenty of poor role models out there and it is an honorable thing to make sure young ones see the best we have to offer. Do you want your children, nieces, nephews, neighbors, and friends learning how long someone can sit in the same spot without getting a bedsore? Heck no! We want them to see us taking good care of ourselves, so we can be the best we can be!
To send the right message to others.
Setting a good example is not only for those younger than we are. It’s admirable to inspire other people of every race, creed, color, and age that self-care is a priority. And when they see the positive changes in your life due to your conscious choices, they may be more motivated to achieve physical success as well. As we read in Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not human masters.”
To remove obstacles.
Yesterday I needed to get a blood pressure cuff and stethoscope that had been stored inside a door, inside a locked office, and behind a chair. I could have just said that I was sorry I couldn’t get it; there were too many obstacles in the way. Instead, I found the person with the key, moved the chair, opened the drawer, and got it! Similarly, exercise can be helpful in removing obstacles in life too. Have you ever not wanted to eat in front of others because you were afraid they thought you were fat and overeating? Have you ever not want to go to a special event because you had nothing nice to wear? Start exercising and you’ll begin chipping away at any obstacles your body size or shape has been for you.
To sleep better and be more energetic.
In Ecclesiastes 3:1 we read, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Although the verses that follow are rather specific, such as their being “a time to plant, and a time to uproot,” it’s fun to imagine the “everything” that is not spelled out. For example, there is a time to play x-box, and a time to do the dinner dishes. Or perhaps, there is a time to study and a time to take a test. I imagine that this verse could easily add, “there’s a time to exercise, and there’s a time to relax!”
To avoid leading others into temptation.
I’m not talking about convincing your best friend to try marijuana here! I’m just pointing out that when we have bad habits, we’re most likely to encourage others to follow in those footsteps. If I routinely eat greasy cheeseburgers at midnight, I’m probably going to invite you to join me. If I enjoy yelling at the television when a player makes a bad move, you might be inclined to join me in a verbal outburst too. The same goes for exercise. If I go for a walk or to the gym, I could invite you to join me. Maybe we’ll run side by side on the treadmill or sit next to each other at a cycle class. It’s a better option than pepperoni pizza and beer in a smoke invested establishment.
To reduce wasteful spending.
When our waistlines expand on an annual basis, so do our charge card expenses for new clothes. A trend in the United States is to gain one to two pounds every year unless you take measures to prevent this. So, even if your clothes are not worn out, before too long they won’t fit you anymore. Certainly, it’s nice to get some new clothes once in a while. And if your finances can afford it, you may choose to get some new clothes every season. But choosing to spend money this way and having no choice are very different things. Choosing to exercise is choosing to be a wise steward of money.
To improve you mood.
Studies have shown that exercise improves your general feeling of well-being and can really improve your mood. Have you ever met a miserable church person? The kind that refuses to smile as it might crack their face. Have you listened to a person who gets mad at you if you inconvenience them in any way? Surely, the Jesus that gave His life to pay the price for our sins does not want miserable followers. Start exercising for Jesus, and leave the grumpiness behind!
To be more social and joyful.
Although some people (myself included) do enjoy exercising alone in the basement. There are also many opportunities to be social and show others your joy during exercise. Have you heard of Color Runs or Mud Runs? Having red, yellow, and green thrown on you, or bathing in mud add some spice to your exercise life! Even if you prefer something a little more subdued, you can join a group exercise class, lift weights next to strangers at the gym, or even grab a friend and go for a walk outdoors. If you’re someone who thrives on social interaction, make sure you choose exercise that also gives you the opportunity to hang out with others! You’ll find the rest of us in the basement!
- Were any of the 12 items listed above something you had not thought of before?
- Which item was most meaningful to you?
- Are you ready to get started exercising for Jesus this year?
American Heart Association (2015). Physical activity improves quality of life.
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