This week, I’m talking about something a little bit different. Though this isn’t a health blog, being healthy is part of having a vibrant life. The life, if you read my blog, I believe you are longing for. So today I’m diving in to an important piece of the health puzzle: Exercise.
I know exercise is not something we always want to do (at least I don’t) and just the word might even bring up some negative feelings like guilt or embarrassment. But if we really want to live life to the fullest, it’s important to address all aspects of self-care: spirit, body, and soul.
So before you decide you’d rather be scrolling through the latest news about the Royals than reading about exercise, hang with me.
I’m going share something that caused a seismic shift in how I view exercise, as well as some not-necessarily-biological benefits of healthy activity.
You with me?
Ok, here we go. :)
The image that propelled me into action
Though I exercise regularly, that wasn’t always the case. Even though I believed exercise was important, up until my early 20s, I would go through periods where I exercised consistently and others times when I would do it sporadically. I’m not naturally athletic and I’ve never enjoyed mandated movement (the only movement I naturally love is gentle walking through nature), so it’s always been a bit of a struggle.
Then I read something that completely changed my perspective on activity.
In his article Stir the Water, Dr. Don Colbert compares our bodies to ponds. Yes, ponds. He asks readers to imagine a pond with no water running through it. Over time, it develops scum and toxins and starts looking pretty yucky.
Now envision a pond with water flowing in and flowing out, stirred, perhaps, by a gentle stream. This pond, because it is being continually cleansed by the movement of the water, is clean, clear, and scum free.
Dr. Colbert then points out that our bodies are made of about 70% water. (You might guess where this is going.)
When we exercise, it gets the water in our body flowing. Like a stream through a pond, it helps clean out the gunk that would otherwise build up and eventually cause problems.
I don’t know if the mental picture of that scummy water hits you as strongly as it did 23-year-old me, but by the time I finished the article, I was determined not to be an algae-infested pond.
Any excuses I had to not exercise were instantly swept away by the power of the pond imagery. Whenever I was tempted to skip my workout, I thought of that pond. Then I thought of my body. I would think, Do I want be a clean pond or a scummy pond? Some magical exercising switch was flipped in me the day I read that article, and I’ve followed a consistent exercise routine since then.
It’s not just about having a clean body
If the pond analogy isn’t enough to get you moving, it may help to know there are a myriad of benefits to exercise, including preventing heart disease, reducing stress, helping maintain healthy weight, improving mood, improving sleep, increasing energy, and slowing aging, to name just a few.
Aside from health benefits, I’ve discovered a few other excellent perks to exercise.
- One is that is really gets my creativity flowing. So often I’ll get ideas for writing or other aspects of my life while moving. (There is actually scientific evidence for this.)
- Another benefit, surprisingly, is spiritual growth. One thing I like to do, especially in the winter when I don’t get outside as much, is listen to praise music while I exercise. I have had so many wonderful encounters with the Lord while plugging away on the treadmill, sweaty tears streaming down my face. Who knew something so practical could be so powerful?
- A third benefit I've found is that exercise can build social connection. In the summer, my mom, who lives nearby, and I walk around our neighborhood together. It has done a lot to develop our friendship as mother and daughter. I also like to go for walks with my husband or my friends whenever they are up for it.
- Finally, exercise is a great way to enjoy God’s creation. There is so much beauty around us, and now is the perfect time to get out and savor the sights and sounds of summer. (As a plus, savoring has been shown to improve happiness and boost your immune system!)
A final thought
Exercise doesn’t have to be complicated. My primary exercise is walking, as well as some stair climbing (which I do on my actual stairs, ha). More recently, I’ve been working in some basic strength training by doing pushups, squats, and sit ups. Pilates is another great option for a gentle, relaxing way to increase strength and flexibility. You can a find lots of great introductory Pilates videos on YouTube.
Of course, there are tons of other ways you can get more activity in, like riding your bike, mowing the lawn, or playing on the playground with your kids (swings are for grown ups too!).
And exercise doesn’t have to be hugely time consuming. You can benefit from even 10 or 15 minutes of movement a day.
You’ll have cleaner, healthy, happier body, and you might just grow spiritually, creatively, and relationally too.
"I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well." 3 John 1:2 NIV
Have you struggled to motivate yourself to exercise on a regular basis? Or have you found creative ways to motivate yourself? Have you found any unexpected benefits? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!
(Note: if you would like to be notified of any replies to your comment, click the "subscribe via email" button above the comment box. This will not subscribe you to my email list, just the comment feed.)
I wrote this post because I’m on a mission to encourage and equip women to live the life of faith, passion, and purpose that we were made for. You can help make a difference by sharing this post with a friend (or friends!) who you think would be encouraged or inspired by it (use the buttons on the left!). Thanks!
Colbert, Don. "Stir the Water." Enjoying Everyday Life, January 2008, 19-20.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am also required to disclose that I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites,, with no additional cost to you. I only recommend products or services I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”