Present Your Body

October 12, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

Laurette Willis –

“I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1 NKJV).

While exercise was not a priority in Biblical times, Paul instructs us to “present your bodies a living sacrifice.” Each of us is advised to take care of our body since it is the “temple of the Holy Spirit.”

Here’s a sobering question: do you think we’ll be required to give an accounting to the Lord for the stewardship of our bodies and how well we’ve taken care of them?

That’s a frightening thought for most of us! “You are not your own,” Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:19. “For you were bought at a price” (the shed blood of Jesus Christ).

Could that mean your body is not yours, but the Lord’s? How well are we, as stewards, caring for the Lord’s property?

The good news is that since your body belongs to the Lord, He has a vested interest in helping you care for it. Your body is not only the temple of His Holy Spirit, it’s what you need to be able to walk around on this earth and spread the good news that Jesus is Lord!

The more fit and healthy you are, the greater the probability is that you will be around longer to carry out His will for your life.

The enemy wants you to fail at your task, to fail horribly and go to heaven before your time. He doesn’t really care that you’re going to heaven–he just doesn’t want you to take anyone else with you!

If your body is out-of-shape and lacking energy, it’s difficult to do all the Lord is calling you to do. But you and the Lord working together can change that!

“What?!” you ask. “The Lord needs my help? But He’s omnipotent, all-powerful and in control!” Well, yes–and no. He is all-powerful, but He will not wrestle the cake fork out of your hand or pick up the strings like a grand marionette master and animate your body to take a brisk walk. We are the ones who have to exercise our will to exercise our body and “choose life.”

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19 NKJV).

Everyday choices are set before us that add to our lives or take from them. Select just one thing you can do today that you know would be life-engendering to your body (drink more water, eat a cup of raw vegetables in a salad, exercise your God-given body for 20-30 minutes, bless your life and loved ones by speaking God’s promises over yourself and your family—out loud!).

Present your body to God today (including what you do, hear, see and say) as an act of worship. Since you cannot “out-give” God, you will discover He will bless, beautify and strengthen everything you present to Him.

Waiting for the Spring Runoff

September 30, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Don Otis –

He was born in China the son of missionaries. In 1924, he competed in the Olympics, a Scottish runner who famously said, “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” Eric Liddell’s inspirational story was told in the 1981 film, Chariots of Fire.

The truth is that we aren’t all fast like Liddell was. Some of us are slow. We struggle and suffer through workouts and would rather do almost anything but run. There are, however, others who persevere through workouts in the winter and by spring start thinking about entering local races. It is a good way to remain motivated and do something with your hard work on the treadmill.

If you have never entered a race, there are many distances–5K (3.1 miles), 10K (6.2), Half Marathon (13.1 miles), and Marathon are the most popular. There are trail runs, hill climbs, charity events, and everything in between. In my home town in Colorado we have a Blossom Festival 5K and 5 mile run on trails along the Arkansas River.

I want to encourage you to set some goals for this spring and enter a local race. There are many good reasons: having something to focus your efforts toward, the encouragement that comes from joining other people in a healthy activity, or discovering how you measure up to others in your age category. These are just a few benefits beside the obvious health payback. So, how do you get started? Here are a few tips.

1. Check with your local Parks & Recreation Department to find out if they sponsor any events in your community. Then, get registered. This is the first step–commitment.
2. Depending on the length of event you select (don’t sign up for a marathon if you’ve never done a race before) prepare yourself accordingly. If you want to run a 10K, be prepared to do slow training runs of between 6-8 miles.
3. Weekly runs should include one longer run, one tempo run (shorter distance at the pace you want to run on race day), some limited speed work (shorter intervals).
4. Cross train on off days or rest. Plan on running 4-5 days a week. You should do your long run and tempo run after a light day. You can swim or cycle on off days but don’t overdo these days. You want to feel fresh on days when your workouts are toughest.
5. On race day, go out slow and finish strong. The best runners understand that going out too fast will cost them dearly at the end of the race. We call these negative splits where the first half of a race is slightly slower than the second half. This requires enormous discipline on race day because you are rested and ready to go.
6. A few weeks before you race, go easy on weight-training. Rest more in the last week or two. Good runners know that going into a race fresh is part of the balance between a good time and a frustrating experience.
7. Don’t over-train. This means that you bump up your mileage or speed slowly. Your body must adapt to any new workload. If you want to avoid injury, don’t suddenly go from running 15 miles a week to trying 25 or 30.

In more than thirty years I have done more than 100 races of all kinds. I remember when my boys were small, they’d ask, “Dad, why do you go to these races because you never win!” It was one of those teachable moments. I told them, “I run to do the best I can.”

Comment below and let me know how your journey goes!

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!

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