Home » Blog » Positive Living » A Spiritual Approach to Making Exercise a Habit

Author

Tags

Share this story

A Spiritual Approach to Making Exercise a Habit

We’re meant to treat the body with respect, to do all we can within our power to keep it healthy and serviceable. And to glorify God.

Man running in the park
GP-Positive Living Tag Content GP-Positive Living Tag Content GP-Positive Living Tag Content GP-Positive Living Tag Content GP-Positive Living Tag ContentGP-Positive Living Tag ContentGP-Positive Living Tag Content GP-Positive Living Tag ContentGP-Positive Living Tag Content

Five days a week I go out for a run. A short, slow run. It’s a habit with me. And the only way I can stick with it is to keep it a habit. To glorify God. In other words, it’s a spiritual approach to making exercise a habit.

The Apostle Paul observed, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God…?” (I Corinthians 6:19)

We’re meant to treat the body with respect, to do all we can within our power to keep it healthy and serviceable.

A Wild Heart History

As I’ve written before, I have a wild heart history. Have had heart surgery twice in my life, most recently over a year ago. After each “procedure” (that seems to be the word medical professionals use), I signed up for cardiac rehab.

In cardiac rehab, you work with a nurse, a physical therapist—with a cardiologist on hand if needed—and get exercise three days a week, building back your strength and more specifically, your confidence.

This last time around I figured, “Okay, I’m not going to go running anymore.” On the contrary, the nurse and therapist urged me on. Running is good for my body. And I daresay, for my soul.

Encouragement to Keep Going

Their encouragement was a reminder: keep it up, Rick. If you saw me, slowly jogging up and down hills, you’d know I’m not out to win any races. In fact, recently, as I came up that last hill running with a friend, a neighbor exclaimed, “You look like the very LAST two finishers of the marathon.”

Thanks a lot. I decided to take it as a compliment.

“You must really love to run,” people will say to me. Love is too strong a word. But I love to finish a run. That feels good.

The only way I can do it is to make it a habit. It’s inscribed in my head (and heart). Sometimes I do it first thing in the morning. As the weather gets cold, I prefer going later in the day, when I won’t freeze. I could do it in a gym, but I don’t really like jogging on a treadmill. I prefer the great outdoors. A chance to get closer to the Creator.

Learning While Running

Sometimes I listen to a Bible podcast. My favorite is called “The Bible for Normal People,” full of interesting guests and scholars. I can learn while I run. I can grow.

Good habits are, in turn, habit-forming. I find it easiest if I simply make it a rule. The Bible offers commandments for us to follow. And the more you follow them, the easier it is to observe them. They become habits. So try a spiritual approach to making exercise a habit.

Like that everyday jog.

Sometimes I imagine Jesus there, as I’m huffing and puffing up a hill. “Okay, Jesus, I’m doing this for You.” To love the Lord with all your heart, body, mind and soul. “I’ll keep doing this, Jesus, until you tell me to stop.” Or a doctor says as much.

I like walking, too. That’s awfully good for you. Maybe that’ll be next.

Share this story

Community Newsletter

Get More Inspiration Delivered to Your Inbox

Scroll to Top