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Practical Peace: Make Exercise a Habit

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler
2020 6 Oct

A practical way to reduce tension and anxiety is to make exercise a regular habit. Watching the Wizard of Oz with my children one day, I couldn't help but wonder if even the Wicked Witch of the West would have been kinder to Dorothy and Toto had she only been keeping to a regular exercise routine. Seriously, regular exercise can reduce our anxiety and make us easier to live with.

Unfortunately, many of us feel so exhausted by the demands of work and home life that we fail to carve out time for exercise, something that our forebears would not even have needed to consider. Though we can't time travel to another era to conduct studies on how our ancestors benefited from engaging in regular manual labor, we can learn something by looking at the Amish. Compared with average Americans, the Amish are six times more active than we are. No wonder one study indicated that the obesity rate in an Old Order Amish community was only 4 percent. Compare that with today's figures, indicating that a whopping 40 percent of Americans are obese.

The physical and mental health benefits of regular exercise have been well documented. Most of us know we need it. But perhaps we have failed to realize the spiritual benefits of exercise. Rejecting a sedentary lifestyle in favor of one that is more active may help us become better disciples of Christ as our anxiety levels are reduced and we are able to respond to life's challenges with greater peace and trust. So get out there and chop that wood, take that run, go for a walk. Do something you enjoy so that you can take care of the body and mind God has given you.