Friday, July 1, 2016

An “Exercise” in Vitality - The Missing Ingredient in Vital, Vibrant Living

Human beings do not like to be controlled by others. In 1776, the American colonists fought the British to became an independent country. We celebrate the independence of the United States on the Fourth of July.

While some people are thinking BBQ, road trips and fireworks, others are dealing with worries and concerns of this world. It seems that we are trapped in a world wide web of terrorism and catastrophes.

How do you feel reading the news about Brexit, Istanbul airport bombing, West Virginia flooding, California wild fires, shooting, killing and accidents everywhere? Just now I heard the breaking news about Gunmen attacking and holding hostages at a restaurant in a diplomatic zone, that was supposed to be the safest area in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Can we really shield and shelter our next generation from these troubles in the world? How can we raise them to become mature and independent adults?

One thing we can do is to live through the ups and downs of life by trusting God who sent His Son Jesus Christ to save us.

Even as Christians, our love of independence often causes us to forget the truth that we cannot live or do anything without God, even exercise!

"And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything. Rather, He Himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else." (Acts 17:25)

A few months ago, I experienced excruciating back pain caused by pressure on my sciatica nerve. At its worst, I felt pain all the time -- sitting, standing, walking, and sleeping.

After taking 600 mg of iBuprofen three times a day for one week, I felt well enough to get physical therapy. I learned to do stretching exercises, and watch my posture. By the grace of God, I can now walk one hour with James a few times a week. Although I couldn't walk as fast, as far or as long, I am grateful for the ability to move and to exercise. It's a gift!

What’s on the list of top 10 ways to reduce stress? Exercise.
One of the top 10 ways of relieving anxiety? Exercise.
Maintain good health? Exercise.
Relieve depression? Build self-esteem? Improve self-image and confidence? Reduce tension? Improve mental sharpness and alertness? Increase immunity to certain diseases and health risks? Lose weight? Improve the quality of sleep? Exercise. Exercise. Exercise.
With a list like this, one might ask if there is any aspect of human life that isn’t helped by regular exercise. Anyone and everyone who is concerned with health and well-being agrees: Physical activity is a vital component for optimum physical and emotional health. Regular exercise is the key to increasing the quality of life. Being active improves body, mind, and spirit.
Yet, a quarter of Americans get absolutely no exercise and nearly two-thirds get less than the recommended minimum amount of physical activity of 30 minutes several times a week. Fewer than 15 percent comply with the American College of Sports Medicine’s recommendations for adult fitness.
All this may be old news to those who put “Start Exercising” at the top of their New Year’s Resolutions each year, or those who say “I know I should, but…” when friends or health professionals suggest a regular exercise routine. For many, 20 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week translates into much more time than the 60 minutes it implies.

If Exercise Is So Good For Us, Why Don’t We Do It?
“No time” is the reason most people offer when asked why they don’t exercise. And it’s true; most of our lives are busier than ever before. But the fact is, when something is important, when we are committed, when we really want something, we find the time for it. Look beneath the easy and ready excuse and you may find more complex reasons why people won’t start or can’t seem to stay with a regular exercise routine.

Impatience: People want to get in great shape Right Now! Never mind that it took 20 years to get in the shape they’re in.
Unrealistic Expectations: Looking for the “perfect body” is a guaranteed set up for failure. 
Denial: Many people are in denial that they might have health problems or suffer a debilitating disease.
Intimidation: The idea of failure or looking foolish or being a beginner intimidates many people into never starting an exercise program.
Bad experiences or painful memories: Experiences such as humiliation or sexual abuse, or old feelings of inadequacy or embarrassment can cause resistance to the idea of exercise.
Physical exercise is essential to good physical and emotional health and a sense of wellbeing. If any of these reasons lay beneath the surface of your “not enough time” excuse, consider these suggestions:
•  Start slowly.
•  Get a buddy.
•  Find an activity you like.
•  Go for progress not perfection.
•  Realize that it may hurt before it feels good.
•  Remember healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes.
•  Don’t give up. If you miss a day, begin again the next day.
•  Be patient. All good things take time.
•  Congratulate yourself on your hard work and follow-through.
•  Ask for help if you need it.
Specialists in health and exercise matters also say that short bursts of exercise can be effective, too. Regular bouts of 10 to 15 minutes of aerobic “sparks,” such as dancing, an early morning walk, or a midday office stair climb, combined with a few strengthening exercises and stretching routines can have measurable physical and mental impact.
Though you can’t expect to lose much weight or compete in 10K races with these minimum activity levels, you can improve your physical health and feel better. Parking your car at the far end of the lot and walking to the mall, taking the stairs instead of the elevator and dancing through your housework can be the start of something good.

My mother-in-law is 94 years young. She has to use a walker but she still goes to church twice a week. Once a week upon our visit, James reads the Bible and sings with her while I play the piano. (He also set it up so that her helper can read the Bible and exercise with her everyday.) We go to the park and she walks using her walker. We pray for our family members. She just keeps on living with vitality within her heart. She is a good example for us.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith." (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Author's content used under license, © Claire Communications

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