Our biggest sale! 50% off your PLUS subscription. Use code SUMMER

Good Health Requires More Than Exercise

Published Jun 27, 2023
Good Health Requires More Than Exercise

It's better to do something than nothing can be an easy excuse to embrace the status quo. But I know God wants me to do what I can to put my body in optimal health, rising to the challenge of living each day to the fullest.

My dad and his friends used to walk a few miles every evening. I often joined them, and he would converse with me throughout our walks. From an early age, I understood the benefits of this nightly routine. It not only helped me feel better physically, but it also allowed me to create a strong bond with my dad. I continued this treasured routine into adulthood, easily incorporating a healthy lifestyle by adding exercise every day. Occasionally, my body stops responding to my routine walks, causing a plateau both in weight and physical health. Making tweaks to my physical routine creates optimal health, but I often don't know where to start. Here's how I am learning to keep my exercise routine fresh and compelling:

Observe and Respond

First, I observed my body's responses. Usually, my body stops responding to repeated routines after a month. My body needs to be constantly challenged in new ways, but the efforts of new exercise result in weight loss and good cardiovascular health. I didn't always listen to my body in this way. Stuck in my typical routine, I concluded it was better to do something than nothing. So, I kept doing the same old training until I got tired of watching the scale plateau—or increase—in number. 

I learned that if I stopped doing regular exercise, such as walking for one month, and then re-started it, my body responded again. I had to find different ways to exercise. Instead of walking every day, I walked twice daily for one month. Then I swam for a month. Soon after, I returned to cardio intervals, walking and jogging at varying speeds. Then, I began to incorporate weights twice a week. The key is to find new exercises which challenge new muscles constantly. 

Learning how to rest throughout the week is also essential. I used to exercise every day. Now, I've learned my body responds to rest just as much as to constant exercise. I trick my mind into thinking it's not going to exercise and then re-engage it. Sleep is also an essential part of physical health. If we are too run down, our bodies and minds cannot perform how we want them to. Prioritize sleep and rest alongside exercise, embracing a moderate, balanced approach. 

Hunger and Hydration

Healthy eating habits coincide with any exercise routine. Even if I run ten miles a day, I won't reap the full benefits of exercise if I constantly eat poorly. Personally, I am sensitive to flour, sugar, and other refined chemicals. Limiting and sometimes eliminating those foods from my diet increases the effectiveness of my exercise routine.

Proper exercise and diet are essential if I want my physical body to be a healthy and capable temple for the Holy Spirit. That doesn't mean I can't ever have ice cream or a special treat; moderation is key. I, personally, must learn not to eat when I'm emotional. Curbing sweet treats for nutritional supplements gives me more energy. My grocery store has many gluten- and soy-free foods that are better for me than flour-based foods. The healthier I eat, the better my body feels. In my area, several nutrition bars offer clean energy drinks, protein shakes, and other options containing vitamins, fiber, and other minerals to burn calories and fat throughout the day. Although I'm not a nutritional expert, I'm learning there are ways to help combat digestive issues, fatigue, and other areas where I'm weak. Even if I'm only receiving a minimal benefit, I believe God will honor my efforts to have a healthy body because of it. 

Hydration is also an important part of staying healthy. Drinking water throughout the day and choosing to replace soda and other sugary drinks with it provides ample benefits to my physical body and mental clarity throughout the day. Instead of caffeine, try a glass of ice water first thing in the morning to jumpstart your metabolism. Replace any liquids lost during exercise and stay ahead of hydration on hot days. Adding a slice of lemon to a glass of iced water is a tasty way to enjoy the process. Diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart-related problems run in my family. If I don't take measures to live as long as possible, I am not a good steward of the body God has given me. 

Purposeful Living

God wants me to live my days with vigor and energy, not slosh through them with low energy and constant fatigue. I set myself up for failure when I don't do as God would want me to do with my body. Although I struggle with some chronic diseases, I can get out of bed each day, which allows me another opportunity to serve him. 

It's better to do something than nothing can be an easy excuse to embrace the status quo. But I know God wants me to do what I can to put my body in optimal health, rising to the challenge of living each day to the fullest. Living this way requires time to research what I might need in terms of supplements when I'm not getting enough nutrition through my diet. There are varying opinions and a market flooded with options, so it's important to research and test what works to increase energy and overall health. Because I see my doctor regularly, she helps me with this process. I rely on her guidance in these areas. If going on a new medication for a time or having regular blood work to find out other causes of fatigue, weight gain, or low energy, I need to do what's necessary to keep my body healthy. I can no longer use the excuse of lousy family history or genetics. Embracing the responsibility for my own body allows me to use it as effectively as possible. 

Although not every budget can afford this, seeing my doctor more frequently than once a year has helped greatly. It allowed more time to review blood work and re-think options if the current methods were not working. This has helped us try various options. Previously, I felt I was just a number and didn't feel heard or valued. That can take a toll on physical health as well. By finding a doctor I can count on, I know I am doing the right thing for my health. Exercise is challenging, but exercise is not the only thing that will help me get a healthy body. By tweaking my exercise routine, I also need to tweak other areas of my life, such as diet supplements and hydration, to be as good and healthy as possible. If I'm doing everything I can and still find my health fails, I have done all I can to be the person God wants me to be. 

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Jacob Ammentorp Lund

Writer Michelle LazurekMichelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.com.