This Week's Soapbox is Named "Exercise"

We're gym shopping!

Kyle is participating in a triathalon in May, and needs a place to train that's a bit more substantial than the park next to our house. I am not participating in a triathalon, but I am training for our summer in Colorado. Any delusions of being in shape are quickly shattered when you're gasping for breath after walking only a few feet uphill.

We tried a gym this morning that offers a free three-day pass. Since we were there before noon the crowd seemed to mostly be retirees and stay-at-home moms. I listened to one lady talk about a horrific experience she had with jury duty, watched a news report with Jack Hanna (yes, the guy who used to do the animal specials on late night shows...), and read for a hermeneutics class I'm taking through our church.

Not a particularly riveting morning at the gym, but enough to get my mind off the burning sensation in my lungs. Before I knew it I had run a mile and a half and biked three. I think that's the most movement in the space of an hour that my body has had in a while... or ever.

As a post-grad, health & fitness have definitely upped as priorities in my life. I have never been the most health-conscious person. I'd chalk up the biking to campus and walking from class to class as good enough, but in the past year I've realized the college lifestyle just doesn't cut it. Especially now that I have a job that involves a lot of sitting.

So last summer when in Colorado, with the lack of oxygen simultaneously squeezing the air out of my lungs and crushing my ability to convince myself I didn't need to work out, I began running.

Before this, I thought the phrase "runner's high" must be some kind of oxymoron. So it surprised me when I started to enjoy it... a lot. It gave me energy and provided a lot of emotional balance during an otherwise crazy summer.

I have wondered why, as a Christian, I tend to focus a lot on maintaining a healthy spiritual life, but neglect maintaining a healthy physical one. Especially after last summer, when it became obvious that being physically in shape affected how I felt emotionally, and therefore often affected how I was doing spiritually. (The most practical example being if I woke up early and ran, I'd be much more likely to spend time with God rather than sleeping in.)

Maybe it's because (let's face it) the world we live in worships the human body. Sometimes I feel like many Christians have a knee-jerk reaction to this fact and take things too far the other way. My own issues with working out have had a ton to do with the lie, "Well as a Christian I need to care about deeper things than physical appearance so working out shouldn't be a priority."

It is true that we should care about deeper things than our physical appearance, but physical appearance is not synonymous with physical health (read: anorexia). The lie I was believing is that I shouldn't worry about taking care of my body because following Jesus only deals with the soul. Not to mention it conveniently gave me a "spiritual excuse" to not have to discipline myself to work out.

I've come to realize that taking care of my body should be seen as part of my walk with God, not outside it. He made this body, after all. I'm sure He has considerable interest in how I'm taking care of His creation.

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