Physical exercise is not something I’ve ever loved. In elementary school I was never good at P.E. (They still have that in school, right?) Sports can be wonderful, but it was never something I was involved in. I did my time when required all through school, but that was about it.
As an adult, this has probably been the area of physical health I’ve struggled with more than any other. And sometimes I’m even a little envious of those who seem to easily develop and maintain an exercise program. But then I remember that we all have priorities. And if I really believe my body needs to move, nobody is keeping me from it!
Periodically I fall off my exercise program completely. My job as a physician actually involves quite a lot of walking and moving around, so I’m generally rather physically active at work. But I know that’s not enough. So here are some things I’m doing:
- The treadmill I’ve owned for years is in my living room. I can use it while I’m watching TV, talking with my husband, or just thinking. I do enjoy getting a little national news in the morning, so I can combine that “need“ with my exercise. For the past few weeks, I jump on the treadmill for at least a mile several times a week. It’s not a lot, but I’m moving.
- When I’m on call at the hospital, the most common areas I work are within one or two floors of each other. So I regularly take the stairs. And I find it actually saves me time, compared to waiting for the elevator.
- I keep myself motivated by using the steps tracker on the MyFitnessPal app. Setting a goal and watching my progress is a great way to stay more physically active.
OK – so I’m not as committed to my exercise program as I am to my relationship with God, or my marriage. But that doesn’t mean I don’t consider it important. And there are several reasons why I keep getting back to it even when I temporarily fall off the wagon. Here’s why:
- I believe God created us to move. Our modern culture doesn’t make it easy for many of us. It’s my responsibility to care for the body God gave me as part of my spiritual service. If I neglect this part of my health, I am doing less than God asks of me. And I won’t be as able to do the job He’s given me.
- There is so much science behind physical movement. Every single body system is helped with exercise. Research keeps piling up on the benefits of movement in decreasing every leading disease of modern life, and extending both the years of your life and the life in your years!
- My husband encourages me. It means a lot to have him say, “I’m proud of you for getting on the treadmill.” When someone close to me is watching, it helps keep me going.
I’m not going to quit. I may need to keep being challenged to take care of myself in this way, but it’s worth it.
How about you? Do you find it easy to get the exercise you need? What do you do to keep yourself moving and motivated? I’d love to hear from you.