There are literally thousands of websites, blogs, Twitter handles, Instagrams, Pinterest accounts, and Facebook pages all dedicated to promoting “healthy living” in some form or fashion. Why did I take a stab at joining the arena with this blog? I believe there is a desperate need for a different, more holistic and positive approach to wellness to be voiced. Yes, being healthy may result in more muscle or a trimmer waistline as many sites promote, but I believe our appearance should not be our main focus. There is something wrong with our exercise routines when we still walk away feeling less than good enough, weak, unsatisfied, and hopeless; or even the opposite–feeling a sense of pride and self-promotion. I’d like to suggest that a healthy lifestyle is founded upon the hard work that cultivates a sound heart, a strong soul, a sturdy body, and a sharp mind.
Now, I’m not arguing that it’s wrong to feel good about ourselves when we exercise; we absolutely should feel strong, capable, and happy with who we are. Still, this should be in proper proportion and with a sense of humility. Thank God our self worth does not depend on whether or not we have a six-pack! We have to remember that we are both physical and spiritual beings. When training the body, we should not neglect the soul within it. Tending to our physical nature through exercise is a wonderful thing when it brings healthy and wholesome refreshment to our spirits, when our minds can be at peace and harmony with our bodies, and when our hearts are strengthened to fight for the good and overcome difficulties we may face. Learning to push through the aches and pains to progress physically, can prepare us to endure the trials outside of the gym that progress us spiritually and mentally. Keep both in mind. Your physical training can mature you and prepare you to persevere through whatever life brings your way.
Being committed to healthy choices like proper portions and nutrition, along with cardiovascular and resistance training, builds virtues we should all strive for: fortitude, endurance, and self-control. These virtues are what end up making us wiser, happier, and more productive, free to grow into who we are called to be. Now THAT is an intention worth working toward.
Hopefully next time you step into the gym, you can think about how each mile you run or each curl you complete challenges you to grow as a person, rather than fit a certain body type. There’s more to it than that. There’s more to you than that.