We probably all know we should exercise. In fact, there are specific recommendations we’ve likely all heard to give us guidelines of how much exercise to get.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) currently recommends adults should do moderate-intensity cardiorespiratory exercise for at least 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week or a minimum of 150 minutes per week. A person should also strength train, stretch, and perform neuromotor activity (coordination, balance, agility) two or three days each week (source).
Sounds a bit like a prescription for a medication doesn’t it?
Supplements vs. whole food
Think about it in terms of vitamins. We know our body needs vitamins to be able to function and that there can be benefit to taking supplements. However, could we live on only supplements?
Our body needs food. In fact scientists admit to not even coming close to understanding all of the chemistry that makes up an apple. We know it has vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fiber, and so many other things that man has yet to discover them all.
It’s the perfect balance and sum total of the ingredients that makes something as seemingly simple as an apple so nutritious. The same applies to any fruit, vegetable, whole grain, seed. Any whole food that God created.
So were our bodies created to live on bouts of exercise vitamins 5 times per week for 30 minutes per day?
The Bible says that in six days shall we labor and do all our work and rest on the 7th day. That doesn’t really sound anything like the current recommendations of “at least 150 minutes of exercise per week.”
Rather it seems to go a bit more with the vitamin scenario.
Times have changed
In the modern American culture, labor has a different ring to it than it did even 100 years ago. Now “working” can be sitting at a desk 8 or more hours per day.
That means we need to be creative with ways to move throughout the day such as using a standing work station and changing positions, or better yet, walking, often – at LEAST every 20-30 minutes. It also means we need to be aware of our biomechanics-the positions or postures we are using our bodies in on a regular basis. Because if we are using our bodies without maintaining them, they will wear down or rust out more quickly.
And yes, the modern version of “laboring” means we may need some vitamins to balance out the lack of whole food (movement).
The best exercise
Walking is a beautiful functional movement that affects every system of the body, increasing circulation, and providing the best opportunity to rid itself of the wastes that may accumulate from inactivity or poor posture.
Of course if we have been sitting or stooping for most of our lives, our bodies are not in an upright position even when we are standing, so it’s important to improve alignment and biomechanics (see this post) through corrective exercise and being aware of our body positions with throughout the day in order to not only receive the greatest health benefit, but to prevent further damage to the body.
In God’s image
Interestingly, our bodies can remind of the character of God. For example, God created us to be upright – both in stature and in character. He wants us to walk in paths that are straight, as in without any sort of dishonesty, pride, selfishness, malice, or evil in us.
Likewise for the best possible health and function our feet were designed to be pointed straight ahead (lining up the outer edge of the foot on a straight edge such as a line in a tile or wood floor, a book, ruler, or 1/2 foam roller like the pic below) – which enables us to physically walk a straight path more efficiently.
Simply to use the bodies God gave us in the way He intended. Move well. Move often.
Serving God by taking care of our health and serving others.
Frankly, I don’t imagine God will care about how far we can run in how much time. Or how many push-ups or sit-ups we can do. Or how heavy of weights we can lift. Or how flat our abs are. As long as we have been good stewards of our health.
Athletic performance is not a measure of health or worth.
There’s nothing better than getting out in nature. Walking and working in well-aligned posture that will bring the most blessings to us and others as we reflect on our Creator God.
He gave us these bodies that were created to work well and move often. Ultimately to be representative of our Creator.
Whose image are you reflecting?