COVID-19: Stay at Home, Stay Healthy Part 2: Exercise
While some people look at exercise as a form of punishment or even personal vanity, there are actually many positive aspects to regular physical activity. Regular exercise can help to decrease feelings of stress and anxiety, support the immune system, and build muscle. It also improves our mood, helps us sleep better, and protects our memory, judgment and reasoning capabilities as well.
And if that doesn’t motivate you to get up and move, have you ever stopped to consider that exercise can be an act of worship?
We are reminded in Romans 12:1 and in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that our bodies are a living sacrifice to God and a temple of the Holy Spirit. Ultimately, our bodies are not our own. I don’t know about you, but if I’m borrowing something from someone, I want to take the best care of it that I can! Regular exercise is a wonderful way to steward the body the Lord has gifted to each of us, and it allows us, as Jesus’ disciples, to be well-equipped with the physical capabilities needed to help those around us.
Physical activity is important for every age, every body type, and every level of fitness. The recommended guidelines for Americans is 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. That can be broken down into five 30-minute sessions per week, or even into smaller chunks of time. Here are some practical ways to infuse physical activity into your daily routine, both during quarantine and under normal circumstances:
- Schedule it in your day like you would a meeting or an important appointment.
- If you sit at a computer or in front of the TV for long periods of time, aim to get up for 5 minutes every hour and move.
- Go on a morning or evening prayer walk around the block.
- Garden, mow the lawn, and do yard work.
- Put on some music and dance around the living room.
- Get outside and play as a family; run around, ride a bike, play tag, or shoot basketball.
- Start off your day with a quick yoga or stretching routine.
- Find a strength training workout video on YouTube to complete 2-3 times a week.
- Facetime with a friend while doing a workout together.
- If you are new to exercising, always check with your doctor first. Then, start small – it can be as basic as walking to the mailbox and back.
Whatever the case, find a way to move, daily! Just because gyms, parks and hiking trails are closed and many of us are staying home doesn’t mean that physical activity is impossible! If you start to dread exercise, stop to remind yourself of why you began in the first place. When we engage in exercise for the glory of God, it adds a deeper meaning to working out, more than shedding 30 pounds or getting a six pack does.
We are to use our whole body as a tool to do what is right for the glory of God. May we steward our bodies well, in all aspects of life — exercise included — for our good health, but ultimately for His glory.