The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of activity – and in turn my fitness goals have had to take a backseat. Some weeks are just like that, aren’t they? No matter how good your intentions are to eat well and keep up your exercise program, life just happens and the best laid plans get completely derailed.
One of my motivations for getting back on track is 1 Corinthians 6:19-20:
Even though my earthly body will fail me one day, I have a responsibility to take care of what God has given me – And doing my best to take care of myself now will enable me to be able to take care of those I love later.
Are you looking to make some small changes in your life to improve your own health? Here are a few ways you can join me on the fitness journey as we seek to take care of this physical gift God has entrusted to us.
- 1. Start Small: You don’t need to start out with a full-blown workout program and diet to make a difference in your health status. Commit to something you know you can do at the fitness level you’re at…and then, when you feel like you’ve succeeded, set another goal and choose a new or additional activity to challenge yourself. Looking for a few ideas on where to start? Check these out:
- Take a 20 minute walk 3 times a week. For increased motivation, create yourself an upbeat positive playlist on your favorite electronic device and walk to the rhythm, or take a buddy with you and catch up while you’re walking your way to healthier you. You can adjust the time and the number of days per week based upon YOUR level of fitness and what works for your schedule. Walking too easy for you? Modify your plan and turn it into a light jog or a cardio class at your local gym.
- Choose 1 or 2 items to change in your diet in the next month: Have a sweet tooth but don’t get enough veggies? Try committing yourself to eating at least 2 servings of veggies each day for one week. At the end of the week, if you’ve met your goal, reward yourself by having one piece of your favorite dessert. Repeat for 3 more weeks. At the end of the month, add in one or two more healthy changes in addition to what you’ve already succeeded at and set yourself a new goal for the month. My goal this month is to eat one of my 4 daily veggie servings as an afternoon snack instead of succumbing to the wonderful bag of buttered popcorn that calls my name when I’m at work.
- Drink more water. Why? Here’s a great article from WebMD called 6 Reasons to Drink Water that provides some great education on why water is an essential part of your daily diet. Each person needs to determine how much is right for their body, but the old saying “Drink 8 eight ounce glasses of water a day” is a great place to start. For more details on how much you should drink, check out this article from Mayo Clinic.
- 2. Find a Comfortable Workout Space: I am not someone that enjoys going to a gym. I was designed an introvert, and I feel embarrassed at just the thought of having a bunch of strangers watch me workout. So, instead, I have purchased some great workout programs that I can do at home, in my living room, where I can workout on my own time and not worry about how I look when I’m trying to do that ridiculous fire hydrant move while the beads of sweat drip off the end of my nose. More recently, I’ve been blessed to be able to workout with trusted coworkers in a space that our employer allows us to use – it’s a great way to hold each other accountable for keeping our fitness commitments, encourage each other in our successes and when we we feel like giving up, and having a safe place to laugh together and share our fitness flops. Wherever you choose, make sure it’s a place that works for your plan.
- Want to get out of the house for your workout? Check out your local fitness center. A lot of fitness center’s now have 24 hour a day access and a variety of workout options, including do-it-yourself equipment, personal training and a mix of classes for all fitness levels. Don’t have a fitness center in your area? Find out if you have a community center near you that is open for walking, running or other activities. Some places have even turned areas of their community centers into a “workout room” and have equipment available for it’s members such as a treadmill, elliptical and/or weight bench. Many small towns open up their community centers during the day and only ask for donations or a small yearly membership that helps pay the cost of building maintenance and upkeep.
- 3. Don’t get discouraged by the numbers on the scale. Focus more on how your body feels. You’re able to walk an extra 10 minutes each day without getting winded? Good for you! You did 3 more sit ups today than you did on Monday? Awesome! It’s ok to check the numbers on the scale once in a while, but your strength and endurance will tell you more about how fit and healthy you are than any number ever will.
- 4. Find an encouraging accountability partner. Maybe it’s your best friend, your spouse, your neighbor, or an acquaintance from half way around the globe – whomever you choose, make sure they are someone who will encourage you, uplift you, and share their own fitness wins and struggles with you. Even better, choose someone that will pray for you on your fitness journey – Because taking care of the body God gave you is hard work, and it’s easy to give up when you fail to meet your own expectations. So be encouraged, and remember that your self-worth ultimately comes from the Creator himself – who chose to put you – yes YOU – in this body..on this earth…for a purpose.
What are your fitness goals for this month? How do you help keep yourself on track and encourage others? Do you have a certain workout that you’d recommend others try who are looking to get started on their fitness journey? Please share your story with us in the comments below!
Father, thank you for this body you’ve given us. Give us the wisdom and strength to choose a lifestyle that is pleasing to you and cares for this physical gift. Help us to use the gifts you’ve given us to serve others and glorify you as we go about our daily lives. Thank you for reminding us that no matter what the world says, we are precious in your sight and our self-worth is rooted in you. We praise you, Lord, for your unending grace and goodness.
In Jesus’ Precious and Matchless Name, Amen.