Exercise crazes, spirituality and your health

•© GLOW IMAGES

• © GLOW IMAGES

Ben Arron, a comedian and a television correspondent for “New York Live,” on WNBC was walking down Fifth Avenue in New York when he saw a young man dancing down the avenue evidently listening to his favorite music. What did Ben do?  He joined the man.  Ben then coined the new fitness activity “Dance walking.”  He said it combines his 3 favorite things: interacting with people; seeing the City; and dancing.

With a camera man in tow, he enticed other New Yorkers to dance/walk down the Avenue with him.  It was a work out and everyone was smiling and happy.

One can dance/walk anywhere and have fun.  Exercise doesn’t have to happen in a gym, on a treadmill, or biking or swimming – don’t get me wrong, these are useful activities – but not comfortable for everyone. And I’ve taken my dance/walking one more level to making it also a spiritual exercise.

I have always enjoyed being active physically – dancing, walking, hiking and enjoying the great outdoors. But I have found I can’t leave out the importance of being mentally active, so I begin every activity with prayer – to maintain a healthy mind as well as a healthy body.

John-Roger, in a book, Spiritual Warrior: The Art of Spiritual Living, summarizes his thinking about how to get started in exercising your spiritual muscle.  “A common question asked by people new to spiritual exercises is, ‘Where do I start?’ The answer I give is: ‘The only wrong way is not to do them’, so there are no rules, rituals, or postures that are necessary to begin.  Mostly, spiritual exercises are an action of the heart, in which the approach is one of devotion and a clear intention to know Spirit and God in a greater way.”

I begin my spiritual exercises as soon as I wake up in the morning – aligning my thought with God, good, and acknowledging the Divine as guiding me through the day.  I know that if I am listening, He quietly shows me the right way to navigate through the day and every situation that needs my attention.

“I absolutely love to exercise my spirit!  It’s fun, it’s rewarding, and the results are lasting throughout eternity,” says Helen Parker Krudop, author of the book, Spiritual Exercise.  Due to a physical condition, she wasn’t able to exercise her body on a regular basis.  In her book, Krudop, lists 10 steps to maintaining a healthy spirit.  She says, “Nothing brings me greater joy and peace of mind than a healthy spirit…and people say it’s reflected in my countenance.”

Here are three of the 10 steps that seem especially important to me:

“Suiting Up” is one of the ten steps Krudop lists as important in spiritual exercising – learning what to take off and what to put on.  To me this means taking off fear, worry, discontentment and putting on love, confidence, joy.

“Walking…and Talking” is another. “Most of us are engaged in a very long walk through life.  It would get pretty lonely with no one to chat with along the way.  The good news is that you never have to walk the road alone; you have a companion with whom you can always converse!”

“Resting Under the Shadow.”  This “cool down” is a must, “resting and abiding in God’s presence.”

In I Timothy we read, “Exercise daily in God – no spiritual flabbiness, please!  Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever.  You can count on this. Take it to heart.” (1)

Spiritual exercise first.  Then we are ready to meet the day with vigor, joyfully moving, dancing and walking through life.

(1) The Message:  I Tim 4:8,9

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·        Kate is interested in blogging about health, health care, spirituality, Christian Science, science, religion, the importance of prayer in maintaining a healthy mind and body.  She is a Christian Science practitioner and the media, legislative and public contact for Christian Science in the state of Maryland.  She and her husband enjoy hiking, especially with Callie, a Blue Heeler, and riding motorcycles. 

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