“If it weren't for the fact that the TV set and the refrigerator are so far apart, some of us wouldn't get any exercise at all.”
–Joey Adams, American comedian
Last summer, I caught a bug that was going around the city that made me sick and made my body do all sorts of weird things. I’ll spare you the details. You can send me a thank you email later. My body felt weak and I knew part of the reason was because I wasn’t getting any exercise at all at the time. Although I wasn’t overweight, I really felt quite unhealthy. And I knew my body was really craving for some exercise. It’s like I could hear my body shouting at me to get my muscles working and my heart pumping. When I recovered from the bug, I vowed to myself to get more regular exercise. Over the summer, I decided to pick up distance running. And it’s been a habit that has stuck with me for several months now. Aside from the well-documented health benefits, I’ve found that regular exercise comes with peripheral advantages as well.
It teaches me to be disciplined in other areas of my life. It takes a lot of discipline to run on a regular basis (my current goal is 5 times a week). Whether I feel like it or not, I go for a run. And that builds consistency and discipline. By disciplining this one area of my life, it has encouraged me to discipline other parts as well. I sleep earlier. I try to eat healthier. Spending time with God is far more consistent. By giving me a taste of discipline, it has motivated me to look into other areas of my life and have them fall in line too.
It gives me more energy to use for the day. This was a surprise for me. Logically, it didn’t make sense. Exercising expends energy. And for the first few weeks, I did feel extra tired during the day. But after some time, I eventually found that I had more energy to use during my day. I’m guessing regular exercise builds up my energy reserves in some way. I’m sure there’s some science behind it that perhaps a reader would like to enlighten me with. Help a brother out.
It motivates me to do the rest of my work well. Although there are days when I don’t feel like going for a run, I have yet to actually regret doing so. It always feels good to complete a run. I get this little high every time I finish a work out and it gives me a boost of confidence. Completing a run also motivates me to do other tasks too and to do them exceedingly well. Since it’s such a motivational booster, I’ve begun experimenting with putting my run at the very start of my day (right before breakfast). I find that regular exercise also puts me in the right frame of mind. It helps me release stress and it gets my mind going to accomplish whatever work I have ahead of me.
More than anything, I’ve found running to be tremendous for my spiritual journey. I develop more discipline to spend time with God and obey His commands. I have more energy to accomplish the work that He has assigned to me. And I’m regularly motivated to serve God and move His kingdom forward. I’m quite surprised at the concrete benefits of such a commonly disliked activity. So give it a shot. Take out those old sneakers and go for a run. Perhaps it’ll do wonders for your life too.