Tuesday, December 7, 2010
The Spirituality of Exercise
In this article, Dr. Reginald Cherry gives a list of practical ways to engage in physical activity and the benefits of doing so. He mentions that it is a great way to shed the extra pounds that tend to accumulate from holiday festivities. Exercise is also a great way to manage stress and increase energy.
Dr. Hart also extols the many virtues of physical activity in his book “The Anxiety Cure”. In it, he talks about the importance of causing some muscle fatigue through physical activity in order to prolong the need for non-dream sleep (which increases REM dream sleep). Exercise stimulates the body’s natural pain killers and also improves blood circulation, digestion, and elimination. In addition it helps to metabolize excess adrenaline, the presence of which can lead to stress and anxiety. Hart also mentions that when our body and minds are fighting with constant anxiety and stress, they don’t have the energy or time to connect with God.
I believe that in order to maintain a healthy spiritual life it is crucial to learn strategies, such as getting enough physical exercise, that help to counteract the deleterious effects of stress. I have found exercise to be quite meditative. It is a good time to disengage from my cares and listen to good music or a sermon while burning off excess stress and tension. Move a muscle, change a thought.