We just got back from Thanksgiving break, during which most of us probably enjoyed a large and satisfying meal with our families. And besides the meal, we may have also enjoyed a few cocktails and desserts to close out Thanksgiving night. And while there’s nothing wrong with enjoying those good things to eat and drink, we should keep a couple of other things in mind when we do.
Firstly, we should always limit our eating and drinking appropriately for our metabolism and body. Gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins for a reason. Overindulgence in anything can lead to addiction, dependence, health issues, and an inability to control one’s desires. Food is no exception. And secondly, we are only given one body in this life and we are dutybound to take care of it. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. To take care of one’s temple means to keep it healthy to the best of our ability. So, we should find ways to keep our bodies in balance so that we can continue to enjoy the good things of God’s creation.
And the best way to keep our bodies in balance with the things we’re consuming is to exercise regularly. John Morales welcomed Dr. Jim Schroeder onto Morning Air to talk about the benefits of exercise and how to overcome the resistance to working out.
Dr. Schroeder began the conversation by saying that exercise looks different for anybody. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that human beings come in all different shapes and sizes and we all have different genetic makeups and capabilities. For some people, staying active could mean hitting the gym 4 times a week and training with weights and running. For others, it might mean going for a jog or a walk every day. And for still others, it might mean doing work around the house, playing with the kids, or playing pickup sports. The key, Dr. Schroeder said, is to stay active and move as much as you can in your lifestyle.
Besides keeping your body in shape and healthy, staying active has also been proven to help intellectually and, in turn, spiritually. Keeping the blood moving helps brain activity and cognitive function. When we get up and move, we can think more clearly. When we can think more clearly, we can make better decisions, remember more easily, and arrive at solutions more quickly.
And when we choose to put our body through the strain of working out in order to attain a more perfect, healthy form, we are showing honor to God our Creator. When we exercise, we are moving toward some version of perfection, whether we know it or not. We become more capable, stronger, faster, more flexible, and, in many ways, more beautiful.
Additionally, exercise is quickly becoming a very effective way of dealing with anxiety, depression, and stress. Exercise can help by releasing endorphins and restoring chemical balance to your body, and it’s a natural alternative to antidepressants which come with a laundry list of harmful side effects.
With all of these benefits, why do our bodies and minds still try to convince us that we don’t want to do it? Dr. Schroeder says that the biggest underlying barrier to our success in staying active is self-talk. It’s not a matter of not having enough time. It’s a matter of time management. While self-talk is the very thing that can motivate us to follow through on good habits, it’s also the thing fueling our self-doubt, our laziness, our procrastination, and our excuses.
“I don’t have enough time. I’m too tired. I don’t have the energy. I’m not in the mood. I’ve been on my feet all day.” None of those excuses are true. It’s simply a matter of prioritization. When you don’t exercise or get active throughout the day, you are prioritizing your comfort – in one way or another – over your health and well-being. Most people who can’t overcome this resistance are viewing exercise as “optional”.
To beat that negative self-talk and reverse it into positive, motivational self-talk, you have to start viewing physical activity as a necessity; something required for your health. It can and will help you stay physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually healthy. View your exercise as a way to stay fit, stay sharp, and stay thankful for the body and mind that Our Lord blessed you with.
Tune in to Morning Air weekdays at 5am CT