I love exercise.
No, really. After long hours of my kids treating me like playground equipment, it feels great to get my heart pumping and my limbs moving in some kind of natural fashion. I feel revved up afterwards, and then at night I feel righteously tired.
Despite that, I don’t do it as much as I’d like. Somehow it always feels selfish to say, “Alright, for these next fifteen minutes I’m focusing on me.” There are always rooms that need cleaning and appointments that need making and articles that need finishing and kids begging for a story. Who has time to exercise?
I’m sure other people have their own versions of this same story. Exercise is great in theory, but somehow never makes the to-do list.
But exercise is a luxury that you can’t not afford. Here are some reasons why.
1) Your body is a temple
Corinthians 1 says that you should “glorify God in your body.” God created the human body, and personally I think he did an awesome job.
Of course, all things should be done in moderation. We shouldn’t be obsessive and vain, especially about our personal appearance. But keeping healthy is just exercising good stewardship over one of God’s more precious gifts.
2) If you’re married, your body belongs to your spouse
That little gem comes a little later in that same passage. When you became one flesh with another person, you offered your body to your husband or wife. That’s all the more reason why you should take care of it.
3) Everyone you love will benefit if you feel good
Exercise is a good investment. Fifteen minutes a day gives me far more energy than when I neglect my routine. That makes me more efficient with the rest of my work, and less cranky with my kids. It’s worth the short diversion if it keeps me active and feeling good for the rest of the day.
4) Over the long run, your family will appreciate the benefits even more
They want to have you with them, and ideally healthy, for as long as possible. If you have young children you especially owe it to them to take little steps to keep yourself healthy.
If you think it’s important to have life insurance to ensure your dependents’ long-term welfare, just think of exercise as another form of “life insurance.” It may just keep you alive for the years that you’re most needed.
5) If you do have children, you set a good example by modeling healthy lifestyle habits
Part of raising children is teaching them good discipline. Exercise certainly isn’t as important as prayer and worship, but it’s still a kind of discipline.
Your kids may complain that they want your attention, but really you’re teaching a good lesson by showing them that exercise is a normal part of a daily routine. Sometimes they may even do it with you!
6) Exercise is a good analogy for life
In a fallen world, we’re constantly striving for a perfection that we never quite reach (this side of the grave). Exercise is a great example of this. Even if we stick to our routine, there’s always someone else out there who is faster, stronger and in better shape than you. What’s worse, you’ll probably fall further behind the more years you do it. Welcome to mortality.
But that’s all the more reason to keep working out. Bearing with our weaknesses is a good way of reminding ourselves that we always have more to work on, and that ultimately, it’s God’s grace that brings us home.