Are You Content?

September 14, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Cami Checketts –

We recently returned from an amazing Caribbean vacation. I savored each moment with my husband. I loved the sun and the fun. When we were heading home, I was surprised at how many people said that they get “post-vacation blues.” I’m not going to lie and say I wasn’t sad that the vacation was over, but I was so excited to be with my boys and other loved ones that I was happy to come back to my daily routine.

Is it possible to be happy in every circumstance? Paul gives us the answer: “For I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11 KJV).

Obviously, it’s challenging to be content no matter what’s happening, but we really do have a choice. We can give thanks in all things, as the Bible commands (1 Thessalonians 5:18) or we can choose to complain. If we complain, we “put out the Spirit’s fire” at work in our lives (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Our negative attitudes become wet blankets on the Spirit in us and we squelch any spiritual fruit that might be trying to blossom in us. Love, joy, peace, patience and all the rest wither and we miss out on many of the blessings God has for us when we complain.

I truly believe that our Father in Heaven wants us to be happy. He cares for each one of us and wants us to be content as we learn to respond with love and thanksgiving, like the Savior would.

Being content can also relate to our exercise time. I know that we often can’t wait to finish a workout, but what if we focused on enjoying each exercise? It would be a lot more fun and would also be more effective.

I have to constantly remind myself throughout my day to have a good attitude and enjoy the circumstance I’m in—even if I’m just washing clothes or changing the baby’s diaper. I am teaching myself to have an attitude of gratitude by listing things I am thankful for instead of allowing complaints to swallow up my time.

Through lots of prayer and practice, the Lord is helping me to become more like Paul—and I’m learning to be content. Are you?

In Sickness and in Health

September 7, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Don Otis –

I was minding my own business while running on a treadmill at the gym. The guy on the machine next to me began hacking. He coughed and sneezed through several miles. This raises a question regarding health, safety, and consideration for your fellow gym members.

Being the obsessive-compulsive person that I am, I already wash my hands more than most, open bathroom doors with a paper towel, and try to avoid sneezers and coughers. Perhaps knowledge is power or maybe it’s just something that assaults us with unwanted thoughts regarding our vulnerability. For example, did you know that when you sneeze, the air moves at 100 miles per hour and unleashes 10,000 bacteria and 5,000 droplets (I have no idea who counts these)?

If you are sick and still want to do a workout, go outdoors or someplace where others won’t be placed at risk of your cold or flu. While this seems fairly evident, for many people in our narcissistic culture, thinking about the welfare of others is the last thing on their minds.

In a gym setting, be aware that equipment, handles, buttons, knobs, and doors carry bacteria to avoid. Wipe down equipment if you sweat on it like I do. If you remind yourself that a third of all men refuse to wash their hands after using the bathroom, it may help change your habits in public places like gyms.

Aside from the obvious, germs and bacteria, other risks abound. For example, while riding my mountain bike this past weekend I discovered that a man had died on one of the downhill sections of the trail. He was riding without a helmet. He had a seizure; fell off his bike and struck his head on a rock. He died, not from the seizure, but from the head injury he sustained. If you ride a bike, even if you just plan to do it for leisure, wear a helmet. If you see kids without helmets, encourage them to put one on. And speaking of helmets…

I was climbing Longs Peak outside Denver this summer, near the summit is a section called the Trough. There can be dozens of people in this steep section at any one time, dislodging rocks that gain momentum as they hurl down. Rather than wearing helmets, I saw many climbers taking their chances, and I wondered whether this form of Russian roulette was worth the risk. One bloodied and mangled face is all it takes change our perception of safety.

For those of us who love the outdoors, it’s never possible to eliminate all risks. If you run, be aware of your environment. I have run in areas where there are grizzly bears, mountain lions, and moose. If you run or ride in an urban area, I encourage you not to wear ear buds, but be aware of what’s happening around you–people, cars, sirens, dogs.

Finally, be prepared in case of emergencies. A fall on a high peak in the Rockies last year reminded me that accidents happen without warning. You have to anticipate the possibilities without being deterred from the activity. We can become complacent and forget that bad things can happen, even if we have hiked this trail, run this course, or ridden this route.

Stay safe and enjoy the journey!

Benefits of Physical (and Spiritual) Cardio Training

By Laurette Willis –

Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23 NKJV).

This proverb of King Solomon’s is not referring to physical cardio training, but spiritual. We want to keep watch over what we are meditating on in our hearts.

Is there unforgiveness or bitterness? Envy? Worry? If so, the answer is to exercise. Exercise forgiveness, repentance and then cast your cares upon the Lord.

Being what I call a “Fit Witness” is wonderful—not only for you—but the people around you. They will want to know your secret, and you can begin explaining your blessing with words like “by the grace of God.” Then you can mention how you like to combine faith and fitness (such as doing PraiseMoves or prayer-walking).

As a child of God, you are a steward or caretaker of the body the Lord has given you. Did you know your body actually belongs to Him?

For you are bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20 NKJV).

Both your spirit and your body are God’s property. Don’t let that scare you if you haven’t been taking good enough care of His property. Instead, realize He has a vested interest in helping you take care of your body. Ask Him to help you and then cooperate with Him by doing physical exercise such as cardio training.

Physical Cardio Training

Cardiovascular training involves any activity that requires the use of the large muscle groups of the body in a regular and uninterrupted manner. It elevates the heart rate between 60 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. Some examples of cardio training include brisk walking, running, aerobics, cycling, elliptical training and rowing.

How Much Cardio?

Most experts agree that cardiovascular training should last for 20 to 60 minutes, with the normal range being 30 to 40 minutes per session. Cardio should be performed a minimum of three days per week, with four to five days being optimal.

What Are the Benefits of Cardio Training?

1. Burns calories
2. Helps you lose excess body fat
3. Strengthens heart and lungs
4. Elevates your mood (a real blues buster!)
5. Adds variety to your workout routine

When to Do Cardio Training?

Most people find exercising earlier in the day best—so you don’t put it off! Some find after work is best for them. But almost any time you exercise is fine. Just do it! Avoid doing cardio exercises before bedtime. You may have a difficult time sleeping if you exercise late at night as the energy level of the body will be elevated for a while.

If you are doing weight training, try doing some cardio exercises right after, not before.

A protein shake 30 minutes before cardio ensures that you’ll have energy and won’t burn muscle protein during your workout. It’s best to exercise two hours after a large meal.

Combine Physical and Spiritual Cardio

Select a scripture for the day and meditate on it while you are working out. Consider the scripture piece-by-piece and ask the Holy Spirit (our Teacher and Guide) to reveal hidden truths to you.

Build your faith muscles by speaking the scripture out loud as you are working out so you can hear yourself saying it. Remember, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17 NKJV).

Combining these two forms of cardio exercise will help you to keep your physical and spiritual heart with all diligence!

Knowing Where to Turn

By Cami Checketts

I love the show The Biggest Loser. We record it every Tuesday night and watch it as a family sometime during the weekend. With a new season underway, it is heartbreaking to see these people who are so obese that they can barely move. Many of the contestants say that they wouldn’t be able to lose the weight on their own so they had to come on the show or be forever miserable. I think this is so sad. Many of these people have tried to lose weight but have obviously failed and their only hope is to be picked for a reality TV show.

I know there are many people who struggle with weight issues, food addictions and body image. Actually, it’s probably rare not to struggle with one of these. But I truly believe there is help that is completely free, always there for us, and doesn’t require us to turn to things like reality TV. We can pray for help in every aspect of our lives. The Lord doesn’t care if it’s a little or a big problem. He wants to hear from us and He can and will help us.

We are told in 1 Peter 5:7 to cast all of our care on the Lord because he cares for us. Whether we’re struggling to lose weight or trying not to allow our struggles with body image to rule our lives, the Lord can help us. I’ve found that it’s not enough to pray in the morning for help and then go on with my day. Maybe I’m just an extra hard case, but I need to turn to the Lord repeatedly throughout my day. Sometimes I pray for help that I won’t overeat. And sometimes I pray for help that I won’t compare myself to someone with skinny legs.

Whatever issues you face with living a healthy, productive, and faith-filled life, please turn to the One who loves you more than you can fathom. I testify that He loves you, will help you with every problem that you face and will carry you through all the trials of your life.

Help Your Kids to Lose Weight

By Julie Morris –

Here’s a scary statistic: Over one-third of our children are overweight or obese. This number has tripled in the last two decades! Here are some practical ways to help them to lose weight:

When they are teens or older, don’t focus on their weight or what they eat. Instead, focus on yourself as you…
1. Eat in a healthy way and start exercising daily for 30 minutes.
2. Write down what you eat.
3. Get the junk food out of our houses (even if this is unpopular).
4. Cook in a healthy way (even if others don’t like it at first).
5. Encourage family meals almost every night—where you sit down together to eat.
6. Provide lots of green vegetables and fruits so that no one will be hungry.
7. Don’t lecture overweight kids about their weight or preach to them about healthy eating.
8. Journal your feelings and have a daily Quiet Time with the Lord. Don’t hide the fact that you do, but don’t brag about it either.
9. Invite your kids on fun activities that encourage exercise such as hikes in the woods, walks in the park, swimming, skating, golf or bowling. Do other not-so-fun things with them such as gardening, washing the car, parking far away from the store, taking the stairs instead of the escalator, walking briskly in the mall.
10. Pray for your children to have a desire to lose weight and make other healthy lifestyle changes. And pray that as they see you lose weight and feel better, they will want to join you.

When your overweight children are young, you have more control over them, so also do some of these things:
1. Teach them how to read labels and make healthy choices. Whether they’re eating out or at home, make a game of finding food “bargains.”
2. Teach them how to have a brief Quiet Time almost every day. If they can’t write yet, help them to draw pictures of their prayers and Bible verses. Help them also to journal their feelings by drawing pictures of things that upset them.
3. Give them non-food rewards when they do something good. Don’t reward by giving them their favorite foods, punish them by taking favorite foods away or calm them with food.
4. When having family celebrations, focus on the fun of fellowship instead of food.
5. Teach them how to cook in a healthy way, but never put them on a diet or force them to eat something they don’t like.
6. Limit their TV, computer or video-game time. One good rule (but not very popular at first) might be to allow them an hour of TV, computer or video games for each hour they spend doing sports, riding their bikes, or playing outside.
7. Don’t tell them that they can never have sugar or other junk food, but limit it. Supply yummy substitutes instead.
8. If they say that they’re hungry between meals, offer low calorie snacks; for example, small packs of raisins, fruits, baby carrots, individual packages of low-fat cheese and yogurt.
9. Never shame them for overeating, gaining weight or making unhealthy choices. Give them lots of hugs and compliments and let them know that you love them.
10. Don’t focus too much on food, diets and weight. Let healthy eating and exercise be a normal part of every day.

The difference these changes can make in your life and the lives of your children will amaze you! Place checks next to the items that you want to try and start making some changes today!

Adapted from Guided By Him…to a Thinner, Not So Stressed-Out You! by Julie Morris and Sarah Morris Cherry.

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