Posts Tagged ‘Exercise’

Your Body Is God’s Temple-Take Care of It

September 20, 2016

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?  1 Corinthians 16

Last night I still had some work to do. But I needed to eat. I had returned to the hotel from the conference and decided to just walk down the street for something rather than drive back for conference food.

There’s an Olive Garden about a half-mile away and I had not been to one in years. Although I know that diet is like religion–we get something we believe and cling to it against all evidence–I’m not opposed to carbs. Spaghetti can be OK, it’s a “slow” carb in that it digests slowly. Problem is quantity. I had salad and spaghetti with marinara. Ate almost half the bowl and two breadsticks (that is the bad stuff).

Walked back to the hotel and was in bed within a half hour. My energy was shot. Should have had no breadsticks and only a quarter of the bowl of pasta. My, don’t we make bad decisions?

Food–too much or wrong kind–has both an immediate and a long-term effect on the body. As Paul teaches, in this new religion of Christianity, God does not dwell in a temple that is a building as in all the other religions. God dwells within us. Therefore, we are a temple. Therefore, we should take care of it.

Kevin Meyer, formerly president of a company and a Lean consultant, writes about Lean and leadership. He also just published a book, Simple Leader.

He writes, “During that time, being overweight impacted my personal and professional leadership. It hurt my self-confidence, lowered my energy level, and complicated my life. Clothes didn’t fit right, so business travel and presentations took more planning.”

The basic pillars of Lean thinking are respect for people and elimination of waste. My food choice was full of waste. Loss of energy was the result. Meyer applied the Lean goal of eliminating waste to his diet. Stop eating wasteful things. Eat nourishing whole grains, vegetables, fruits. Portion sizes are wasteful. Take only a little.

Years ago there was a cartoon strip called Bloom County. Opus, the penguin, was always jumping on the latest fad. In one strip he was jumping from one fad diet to the next. Meanwhile, Milo, the voice of reason, says, “Eat less, exercise more.”

There are medical conditions that create weight gain, so don’t look at everyone and judge. But judge yourself. Am I eating less and only the right things while increasing my exercise? Am I making the decisions required about 50 times a day about the right foods?

How do I feel? That is good feedback about whether you’re on the right path or need an adjustment. As for me, today it’s off to better decisions. First, time for that run…

Energy and Information

September 6, 2016

We are told that in the physical world everything is composed of energy and information. At least, that’s the quantum physics short form. That leaves out the spiritual realm, of course, but that ties in, too.

If we are energy, why is it that we so often out of energy?

This year I had some outpatient surgery in January and March. Then pulled a muscle in June or July that took a while to work through. Essentially, I was on reduced exercise for seven months.

Now I have much greater understanding of people struggling to recover from major surgery. Or even athletes in the prime of their conditioned lives taking months to recover from some injuries. Healing takes a lot of energy.

Often we just sit, though, and feel out of energy. We don’t feel like reading. We don’t feel like exercising. We can’t focus on work.

What do we do?

We know that energy comes from what we eat. It’s a pun in German (I first read in Ludwig Feuerbach), “Man ist, was er isst.” Man is what he eats. We know that high simple carbohydrates (aka sugars, etc.) give a quick energy boost followed by a letdown. Meals of high fat and starch will make you sleepy. Of course, both make you heavier.

So, we begin with diet.

Sometimes it’s our thoughts. We dwell on negative thoughts or worries or fears. Did you know that we have the power to change our thoughts? Paul often talked about setting your mind on things above. Jesus often withdrew from people to communicate with God his Father. Many ancient philosophers concluded that “we become what we think about.”

Then there is exercise. We all have different capacities for exercise. But, if we’re in an energy loss rut, then it’s time to change the exercise. Walk faster. Take up cycling. Run farther. Take a different route or a new location.

Then use your to-do list. Every week look at what you need to do. Make a list. Pick the day’s most important task. Work on it. Accomplishment is a virtuous cycle. You get one task done and you feel more like tackling the next–after an appropriate reward, perhaps.

Traditionally in the United States, Labor Day marks the end of “summer vacation” and the beginning of back to work. In Europe for the most part it’s just the first of September that marks the same thing. It’s Tuesday. Labor Day is behind us. It’s time to work up some energy and tackle those tasks.

The Body As The Temple of the Soul

March 18, 2016

The apostle Paul loved sports metaphors. He often discussed training using the example of athletes.

He also talked about the body as a temple.

We need to take care of our bodies. We need to maintain the best health we can and be in the best shape we can. We’re not all going to be body builders or anything, but we can be fit within our limits, healthy within our limits.

It is hard to concentrate on prayer or study or to be of service to others if we are always tired. If our concentration is lacking due to poor nutrition. If we can’t sit up straight due to weak abs.

Check out leaders. Often they have plenty of energy and fitness.

I’ve been reading a lot lately on nutrition. Just finished a book that began as a great report and survey of science regarding how bad simple carbohydrates are for our bodies. We consume way too much sugar. High fructose corn syrup, a sugar substitute in processed foods and drinks, goes straight to fat. White flour–not good.

The author of the book warned readers in the beginning that his conclusion would be controversial. I thought, with this great science, how could that be.

Well, he left science behind. His transition was a page or so discussing the glycemic index.

That’s a measure of how fast carbs are digested. The slower, the better. Whole grains are better than processed simple carbs. He mentioned the science of this briefly. Then jumped immediately into non-science.

He said someone asked a paleontologist what our first ancestors ate thousands of years ago. He said, meat. Lots of meat, and then maybe whatever plants they could pull off and eat.

Voila–the paleo diet. Supposedly this is what our genes are built to thrive on.

But, wait a minute. There’s no science in this. It ignores the science of glycemic index. It also ignores our ancestors who learned to cultivate grains, built civilizations and cities, practiced art and engineering, and lived longer and healthier lives.

Mostly in America we eat way too much. The dual problems are too much sugar (which is in everything) and too much food.

Train like an athlete. Eat lean protein, complex carbs, plenty of water (maybe some with coffee brewed in it ;-), lots of vegetables. Get plenty of appropriate exercise–walking, running, weight lifting, Yoga or Pilates, etc.

Your energy will go up. Miscellaneous health issues will disappear–although unfortunately maybe not the bigger ones. But you’ll still feel better.

Take care of the temple of the soul. It will help your spiritual discipline. It will help your leadership.

Teach About the Whole Body

October 15, 2015

The Christian church, especially the Protestant tradition that I’ve grown up in, focuses almost exclusively on the “soul”. Most Protestant denominations, at least in the US, focus on salvation messages.

Thanks perhaps to Dave Ramsey, more and more churches are beginning to discuss money not in terms of law–you should give more money to the church–but in terms spiritual development. How you manage your finances is an important part of your overall spiritual focus and development.

I hear almost nothing about taking care of your body. This “temple of the soul” as Paul says.

It’s not like the Bible is silent on the issue. Many of the Mosaic laws are in reality health laws. Of course, like all religious laws they quickly get taken to the extreme and the initial reason lost.

There is the “Daniel diet” that has gone around. You know, when the Babylonian king picked a group of Hebrew young men to join his leadership academy, they asked to stay on a healthy diet rather than the foods rich in fat and sweet and alcohol. After a trial run, they proved to be more healthy than the others, so they were allowed their own diet.

If you take care of your body, you are in better shape to pursue your spiritual development.

Taking care of your body does not mean that there is no illness or physical debilitation. Some of that is unavoidable genetics. Some accident. 

All of us can be like Daniel and watch what we eat. We could be vegetarian or allow ourselves some meat. Either works. But eating more of your diet from plant sources, eliminating excess fat and sugar, eliminating sodas, eating until 80% full, drinking more water, dining rather than gulping down your meals (like I did last night proofreading some PowerPoint slides while eating) all work for the betterment of our bodies. We can practice this no matter what we have.

Even those who have physical challenges can get some form of exercise. For those who can walk, few things are better than long walks in nature. For those who can run–run. Resistance exercises like some form of weight lifiting build muscles and bone. Mind/body fitness like Yoga, Tai Chi, or Pilates tone the whole body. Yoga is good for people with a number of chronic physical problems who can’t exercise any other way.

Lots of things contribute to our spiritual health. We need teach about mind, body, and soul so that we are fit for the race set before us.

Physical Exercise As A Discipline

June 19, 2014

Physical health is a foundation to productive living. As long as we are able to move, we should be moving. Meditation and study require attention and an alert mind. Physical exercise as a discipline impacts all the other disciplines.

There are two men who are regulars at the gym I frequent (when I’m in town). I started there in 2000 and they were already regulars. One just turned 84, the other is 86. The first walks every day. He rides his bike for an hour or two during summer evenings. The other one still runs marathons–yep, the 26 mile variety. He just won his age group (OK, not tons of competition there, still…) three weeks ago in one. He did a couple of triathalons after he turned 80 (biking, swimming, running).

I began running in the mornings in the late 1970s when one spring I discovered that I was terribly out of shape. Mostly I run with the goal of being able to referee soccer rather than run in competitions. But it keeps me moving.

My “Getting Things Done” mentor and developer of the Nozbe productivity application, Michael Sliwinski, just wrote on his blog about running–✔ Born To Run by Christopher McDougall – (audio) book of the week. He discovered what I discovered a year ago–modern running shoes are bad for you.

I heard about minimalist running shoes and thought those would be great to pack on my trips (lighter, less space). Then I discovered that this is actually a movement. You shouldn’t have to beat yourself up and wind up in pain from running. Our ancestors could run for miles a day chasing their next meal.

Running may not be ideal for you given physical restrictions. But keep moving to the extent your body allows. It sharpens the mind, improves your outlook on life, and helps you make new friends. Physical activity improves your spiritual life.