1. Take a Praise Walk!
“I don’t have TIME to exercise!” I hear that often – and I’ve said it myself. But then I realized it wasn’t about having time to exercise – I needed to make time to exercise if I wanted to be healthy.
Many of us are multi-taskers, thinking doing several things at once might save us some time – and it often does. How about combining exercise with something we already do every day, such as prayer?
Here’s an idea: Would you be willing to walk away from your house briskly for ten minutes praying for your family, the peace of Jerusalem, the leaders of our country, the military, etc.? After ten minutes, turn around and come back praising the Lord for answered prayer.
You have just combined two important activities and transformed your workout into worship! Tell me what part of your life God does NOT want to be a part of? The Author of your life wants to be a part of all parts of your life.
Since the Surgeon General has confirmed we need at least 30 minutes of exercise a day to remain healthy – and more if you want to lose excess weight – why not use that time to build your relationship with your Heavenly Father through prayer, praise and worship, memorizing scripture or saying scriptural affirmations?
Galatians 6:8 tells us that whatever we “sow to the flesh will of the flesh reap corruption,” but what we “sow to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” When you give the time to God, He will multiply back to you the time you have sown – and I have found that the results of your exercise will be speedier and more enjoyable as you grow in your relationship with Him. You cannot out-give God!
2. Add Muscle
Put some muscle in it! The faster you get lean muscle working for you, the more quickly you’ll reach your fitness goals. Muscle is a good thing—your heart’s a muscle. And muscle burns fat (we like that!). One pound of muscle burns about 35 calories a day, while one pound of fat only 2 calories a day.
If we don’t practice strength training we begin to lose muscle, our metabolism slows, we burn fewer calories, and we gain fat.
And don’t worry, ladies, strength training won’t turn you into Mr. Universe or Chunky Muscle Girl either. Having more muscle revs up your metabolism and helps you lose excess fat more quickly.
Start slowly with a simple 10 to 15 minute work-out with light weights or resistance bands several times a week. The three parts of good fitness include aerobic activity for cardiovascular health, stretching for flexibility, and strength training for lean muscle. So, put some muscle in it!
A great way to get a total body workout that’s gentle on the joints is with a rebounder, or mini-trampoline.
A zero-impact exercise, gentle jumping on a rebounder improves circulation and muscle tone (especially of the legs, hips, abs and arms), reduces stress and tension, increases energy, improves coordination and balance – and it’s fun! Rebounding also stimulates the lymphatic system, so it helps detoxify the body.
For those who are ill or unable to jump on the rebounder, if they sit on it while someone else bounces, they will still receive great physical benefits.
I like tuning into my favorite Christian radio station or tv program while rebounding. It doesn’t even feel like you’re exercising, it’s so enjoyable, but your body will thank you for it.
You can recite memory verses and scriptural affirmations, pray for your loved ones and praise the Lord – all while gently bounce-bounce-bouncing your way to better health!
4. Fitness for the Busy Person
Are you busy? I prefer to say “I’m happily productive” or “My times are in His hands!” But with full schedules, how can we make time for fitness? Well, a wise person once told me that if we don’t make time for health, a lack of health may wind up taking time from us.
Since none of us like that scenario, what can we do if we only have limited time to invest? That’s a good word right there – invest. The minutes you devote to health and fitness are investments in your future – investments that will have wonderful returns for you and your family. Here are some ideas:
1. Improve your diet – eat less fat, sugar and processed foods, and drink more water;
2. Get moving! Take a brisk walk; instead of sitting on the couch to watch television, get up and swing your arms, march in place; and
3. Take God’s Medicine – His Word everyday. Proverbs 4:22 says God’s Word is medicine, health to all our flesh. Speak out God’s promises today.
5. Help! I hate exercise!
Have you ever said, “I hate exercise!” I have. But you know, we’ve probably also said, “I hate cooking” and “I hate housework” or “yard work” from time-to-time and saying it didn’t seem to remove the necessity to cook or do chores. Some are blessed with people to help them cook and clean, but no one can do exercise for you – so – hating exercise won’t help much.
How about changing the focus from having to love exercise before we do it, to “Just do it!” as the athletic shoe commercial says.
How about saying, “I’m going out to take a quick walk” instead of “I’m going to exercise and sweat for 30 minutes.” So – don’t exercise – walk, jog, lift weights, swim, cycle, jump up and down and praise the Lord – call it what you will, if it gets your heart pumping and makes you break a sweat – just do it. And remember, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!
6. The Secret Weapon
As Christians, we have a “secret weapon” when it comes to making changes in our lives. We have the weapon of the “sword of the Spirit,” the Word of God. We can also sow any action we take as a seed to the Spirit—and whatever we sow “to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” to that seed sown. By sowing a seed of discipline in the area of exercise, for example, we can reap a healthy habit of regular exercise and a more active lifestyle.
Whatever we do “as unto the Lord” brings supernatural help because we are tapping into the heavenly realm for assistance.
How can we make an exercise program a more spiritual experience? Have you ever prayed while working out? No, I don’t mean the “Lord, please help me” prayer after 45 minutes into the step aerobics routine. You can dedicate your exercise time to the Lord and ask Him to help you make exercise an enjoyable, healthy habit.
7. Use a Pedometer
A Journey of 10,000 Steps Begins with One…
Pedometer! A simple pedometer can keep track of the miles you walk as you go about your day. Walking 10,000 steps a day equals about five miles, or 30 minutes of exercise. You can burn 2,000 to 3,000 extra calories a week this way—and what happens when 3,500 calories are burned? Right! One pound of fat is gone!
Since every 2,000 steps equals one mile, you can challenge yourself and increase your steps over a four-week period. Build up to 10,000 or more per day. Sitting at a computer all day makes that difficult, so it’s important to schedule times to get up and move.
While walking 30 minutes continuously has greater aerobic benefits rather than starting and stopping, any walking you do will be a blessing. Remember—Jesus walked everywhere, so you know it must be good for you!
8. Stretching Exercises
Everyone enjoys stretching. We do it naturally—it feels great to stretch. But did you know it has health benefits? Stretching improves flexibility making bending and lifting easier.
Stretching exercises reduce stress and help lower blood pressure, improve circulation and help injuries to heal. It’s also been proven to help arthritis, fibromyalgia and osteoporosis.
Look for a good stretching and toning class—but do not do yoga—yoga is Hinduism—I did it for 22 years before I became a Christian, so I know—yoga postures are actually offerings to the 330 million Hindu gods—look at our website for more info about it. Of course I’m partial to PraiseMoves, the Christian ALTERNATIVE to yoga. Whatever you choose, remember, “You were bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Please see: PraiseMoves.com for more information (particularly the article “Why a Christian ALTERNATIVE to yoga?”).