Spring is here and pool season is right around the corner. I know I can’t wait. It’s been a long winter, hasn’t it? Have you been exercising this winter? What about weight training? When we make the time to strengthen and develop our physical muscles, they have more tone, definition and strength. Our body is then equipped to do all the things we want and need it to do throughout our lifetime.
This week’s post is about exercise and no, it is not a dirty word, so let’s do away with any negative thinking or excuses right now, ok? Exercise is not a chore we have to endure. There’s a woman at the gym who is wheelchair-bound and I have been watching and encouraging her as she makes the effort to move her body. She is making slow but steady progress. The other day I saw her climb onto the stationary bike. Imagine what it would be like to be in a wheelchair.
Exercise is a blessing and also a lifestyle. Exercise is a part of my life and has been for many years. There have been seasons when I have been injured and out of commission, so I know what it feels like to be immobile. It’s not fun. Fun is being able to move, dance, and regular, consistent exercise helps us do just that. It helps us feel more alive.
It is important to make regular exercise a priority. I know you’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating, especially with the rate of obesity and cardiovascular disease on the rise all over the world. Did you know Mexico has surpassed the United States in terms of numbers of obese people – 32.8%. The United States now ranks #2 and that is not something to be proud of.
There are many ways to strengthen our muscles and get our bodies moving. Now that the weather is warming up, I love to get outdoors as much as I can. My grown sons still love to play soccer and basketball. I taught them to play tennis and took them to soccer and baseball practice. They saw me exercising in the basement to my videos. When I was raising my kids, I used to get up at 5:30 am and go for a run around the nearby college campus before the sun came up. Running is a great way to get a quick cardio workout in and all you really need is a good pair of running shoes. I’d sign up for 5 and 10k races and collect donations for charities. Then there is biking, working out at a gym, taking a fun group exercise class like Zumba, playing several sets of tennis, swimming, the list goes on and on. Let’s not forget yoga and pilates – two great ways to tone, stretch, and strengthen our core and connect with our bodies. Two fantastic low impact weight-bearing exercises that can really train the heart muscle as well as strengthen the bones are fitness walking and hiking. Both are easy and free.
While I’m on the subject of strengthening our muscles, let’s not forget our spiritual muscle. Did you know you have a spiritual muscle? Yes, indeed, and it’s called faith. Think about this. We all have faith in something to some degree. We have faith that the sun will rise every morning even if we don’t see it. We have faith that the chair we’re sitting in will hold us. We use faith every day but there are times when we need it in extra doses. In the same way we lift more weight at the gym, or run longer distances, there are circumstances in our lives that put more demands on our spiritual muscle. If we haven’t made the effort to develop our faith, we won’t be able to endure the inevitable trials that are destined to come our way.
So how do we develop our faith muscle? By exercising it, of course! Faith needs to be used in order to grow stronger. Every trial we go through is an opportunity to develop and strengthen our faith. Just as we strengthen different muscle groups with different types of exercise, different situations in life cause us to develop our faith in different areas.
Here is a short video I put together about this entitled “How to Transform Your Life”. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
What do you think of the idea of having a spiritual muscle? Does yours need to be exercised more? What concrete things can you do to strengthen it? If you’re not sure, stay tuned and I’ll be sharing simple yet concrete and practical steps you can use to develop your faith. If you want to be stronger and stay calmer through the ups and downs of life, now is the time to start strengthening your faith.
Love to hear from you. Until the next time, keep the faith and keep looking up!