Monday, August 27, 2012

Experience God's Design for Your Body with Exercise

The statistics are frightening and sad:
  • 62 percent of Americans are overweight or obese.
  • One in three US adults has high blood pressure.
  • 17.2 million Americans have diagnosed diabetes, approximately 6.1 million are undiagnosed diabetics, and over 63 million experience pre-diabetic symptoms.
  • One in three American men have some form of heart disease.
  • These realities are just a few reminders of the unhealthy, disease-riddled lives that so many people live. Even more discouraging is the fact that, most of the time, these are the preventable consequences of inactive lifestyles.

We glorify God when we understand and respect the bodies He created for each of us. Our bodies were meant for movement, work, and action from the very beginning. God created Adam and Eve with healthy, strong bodies that were capable of work. Genesis 2:15 says, "The Lord God took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden to work it and watch over it."

So often we imagine the Garden of Eden as a paradise and Adam as a vacation resident. But that's just not true. Physical labor and active work came before sin entered the world. God's design for our bodies was for us to be strong and fit through meaningful physical work. Even after sin entered the world and labor became much more difficult, activity remained a vital component to abundant life.

In our modern culture, technology and mechanical devices have replaced so much of our need for physical work. The result of this inactivity is the breakdown of the body and resulting disease. Fortunately, there is a way to reverse these consequences by committing to use your body as God created it. Exercise is the mode of healing that can change the biochemical make-up of the body to prevent lifestyle disease and restore good health.

Recent studies have shown that a moderate amount of exercise for 30 minutes a day can prevent diabetes, no matter the person's weight. The same 30 minutes of activity can reduce a woman's risk of breast cancer by 50 to 60 percent. Exercise has also been proven to strengthen bone density, reduce blood pressure, and increase good cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of heart disease, and aid in maintaining a healthy body weight, thus preventing the damaging effects of obesity. Fortunately, all these benefits can be had by the same commitment to at least 30 minutes of moderate activity every day.

Exercise is a means by which God allows our bodies to stay strong. When we follow God's way of living we are blessed in all aspects of our lives. If you don't already exercise, begin a consistent routine of 30 minutes of some activity. Walking is the most available, inexpensive, and convenient method for beginners. If you are just starting, begin slowly and increase your pace, distance, and time as your body naturally become stronger. If you already exercise regularly, continue reaping the benefits by challenging yourself to get stronger, more flexible, and more fit.

Consider your exercise an act of worship, as you care for the body God gave you. "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God's glory," (1 Cor. 10:31, HCSB).

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