Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Practical & Spiritual Motivators For Life-Long Fitness

Today's post is a "re-run" of a post I wrote several months back, but one that has been circulating on Pinterest quite a bit, so I thought I would bring it back just for today!  
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Let us run with perserverance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1

Ever since I really started running regularly in college, I have loved the biblical references to athletics and their parallels to the spiritual life...

 Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it! ~ 1 Corinthians 9:24

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. - Philippians 4:13

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  ~ Romans 5:3

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 3:13-15

As a mother, these verses still give me so much encouragement!  Running has evolved from a means to be able to eat more pizza (in college) into a habit essential for maintaining perspective, inner peace, and mental and physical strength for facing the challenges of motherhood and life in general.
That includes stepping up to a sporting clays challenge!...
My dad was the first person who, through his example, inspired me to exercise. He has dedicated himself to a life-long habit of fitness.  I have memories of him coming into the kitchen early in the morning after a good workout with a sweaty brow and ruddy cheeks greeting me cheerfully as I nibbled on my bowl of Cheerios.  He told me as I grew older that exercise for him was essential for managing stress, and approaching the work day with renewed vigor and confidence.

I have come to discover a deep sense of truth in his wisdom. The benefits for most of us, rest heavily in the mental and emotional clarity we gain from working out.  It's much greater than the physical benefits.
Several readers have requested that I write about how to get motivated and stay motivated to exercise.  This topic will probably be answered over the course of several posts, but I'll begin with this:

FIRST - you have to have to do something you enjoy.  Running, walking, biking, hiking, yoga, weightlifting - whatever it is, you have to enjoy it.  Although exercise isn't always fun, the fruits of it will be what keep you coming back.  Exercise isn't always fun, but the feeling that you have after you exercise is great, and is usually what makes it easier to choose to workout again the next day.  You can thank endorphins for that!

SECOND - you must remove from your mind the falsehood that exercise is selfish.  It's quite the opposite, actually.  The fit person is stronger
For the Lord 
She is able to fulfill His calling and purpose for her life with strength and energy.
For her Family 
 She works hard and plays hard with joy and efficiency!
For her Community 
She has the will and dedication to serve not only her family but others as well.

Notice I said the FIT person, not the SKINNY person.  Fitness comes in all shapes and sizes.  Don't believe me?  Just go stand alongside a course at any road race.  You will see all kinds of folks taking on the miles!  I ran 5 miles of my first half-marathon with a group of grandpas who were clipping right along and having a ball!

There are so many excuses out there for not doing it.  You just have to find your reason FOR doing it, and stick to it!  You'll be surprised at how your family and friends will come alongside of you to help you meet your goals.
The human body is an amazing machine, and when it becomes stronger, so too does the intellect (sharper focus), the will (choosing a virtuous path) and the proper order of our emotions (ladies, we need this!).

I hope that this gives you some encouragement to get out there and find a pathway of fitness you enjoy.  If you're already there, keep going!

Fabulous photos from Runner Girl ~ Discovered on Pinterest (of course!)


  1. I love this! I am a runner a heart but have recently fallen out of running because I've been going mass in the AM instead of using that window of time to exercise.. It's tough because I love te quiet 6:30 mass but I really miss running.

  2. Great post, Susan. You are so inspiring!

  3. I love this and your post really spoke to me, especially here: "SECOND - you must remove from your mind the falsehood that exercise is selfish. It's quite the opposite, actually. The fit person is stronger".

    I'm a new mom and have battled with whether running and exercise is selfish or not. Does the Lord want me to run? (It seems so! In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, God says we are to honor Him with our bodies.) Should moms enjoy exercise or be using the time spent exercising to serve the family even more?

    Running and staying fit has definitely given me the energy to be a better wife and mother! I battle on and off with guilt as a new mom and your post has been very encouraging.


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