Physical Fitness enhances your spirituality.

We came to earth to receive a body and gain knowledge. Some physical and spiritual lessons can only be learned through kinesthetic experiences.

Regardless of whether or not you are expert when it comes to exercise, this article can help you to recognize the connection between physical fitness and spirituality.  You may feel as though your spiritual self and your physical body are totally different. Sometimes you may  feel like they’re fighting each other.

Have you ever had days where you had absolutely zero desire to get yourself moving? I’m sure we have all felt that way at some point, but Heavenly Father expects us to care for our bodies, one of those ways includes becoming physically fit. 

Elder Klebingat quote about how spirituality increased with self-mastery.

Here are 5 components to include in your exercise regimen that will  help you understand the link between being physically fit and your spiritual relationship with Heavenly Father. 

1. Flexibility

The scriptures  teach that our soul is composed of our body and spirit. They’re one.“And the spirit and the body are the soul of man” (Doctrine and Covenants 88 :15). Being physically active can increase our confidence before the Lord, improve our mood, and extend our life-span.

Flexibility relates to the range of motion a person has in conjunction with every  joint. Increasing flexibility allows a person  a greater ability to move freely without fear of injury. In the same way our muscles need to be lengthened and stretched, the Lord expects us to lengthen our stride and to stretch ourselves spiritually.

Stretching is a way you can prepare your body to better receive the instructions your mind and spirit are going to send it. Without stretching your body may simply not be ready.

Physical Application:

  • Yoga is a great way  to improve  flexibility and enhance your capacity to master your body through meditation and concentration. Incorporate yoga into your life to improve your physical fitness and spirituality.
  • Pilates physical fitness system is a phenomenal mode for  increasing muscular strength and endurance. Pilates includes exercises that are meant to boost flexibility while simultaneously  increasing strength.
  • I have seen how dynamic and static stretching are the perfect way to begin and end a workout. Many have found that starting a workout with a dynamic warm-up  can prevent injury and make your exercise experience more enjoyable. After concluding a work out, taking time to statically stretch can not only increase your flexibility but can also reduce soreness.

Spiritual Application: As you seek to improve your flexibility ask yourself how can I stretch myself physically and spiritually? What ways can I be more flexible and willing to align my will with the will of God?

2. Strength

A person’s strength can be increased through deliberate repetitious exercise. During strength training, muscle fibers break down and rebuild, which in turn increases muscle strength. In a similar way, God allows us to come to Him when we are spiritually broken, tired and fatigued, and He has promised to change our weakness into strengths.

Physical Application:

  •  Strength training is a fabulous way to increase muscle tone and strength and is also an incredible way to boost metabolism while enhancing muscle tone and bone density. Using free-weights, weight machines, and your own body weight are great methods for increasing muscle strength and improving your overall fitness.
  • Cross- training enables individuals to become  proficient in more than just one physical exercise routine or activity.Americanrunning.org says “Cross-training not only brings about positive changes in physical fitness and reduces the chance of injury, it can also provide the athlete with new motivation.  It prevents boredom of the muscles, as well as the mind.  It helps to keep workouts from getting stale, while sharpening reflexes.  If variety is the “spice of life,” then cross-training is the “spice of exercise.”

Spiritual Application: As you couple your exercise regimen with meaningful prayer and scripture study, make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. In the same way you are seeking to strengthen your muscles, make a specific plan to change your weakness into strength by using the Lord’s matchless power. Study what the scriptures and the Lord’s apostles and prophets have said repeatedly about turning weaknesses into strenghths.

3. Balance

The Lord has revealed to us that “Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created” (Doctrine and Covenants 29:34). Therefore,  when we are exercising, we are improving our physical well-being while simultaneously fulfilling a spiritual commandment.

Having good balance improves athleticism and promotes good communication between the brain and individual muscles.

Elder M. Russel Ballard made this comment about finding balance “… many people, including me, have difficulty finding the time for sufficient rest, exercise, and relaxation. We must schedule time on our daily calendars for these activities if we are to enjoy a healthy and balanced life. Good physical appearance enhances our dignity and self-respect.”

Physical Application:

  • Plyometrics are likely not an exercise that you will do every day, but these activities can enhance your overall fitness. Plyos combine explosive movements and improve your ability to jump while targeting your abominable, leg, arm and back muscles.
  • Tai chi is a really low impact activity that can be beneficial to all age groups. Harvard Health says the following about Tai chi, “This gentle form of exercise can prevent or ease many ills of aging and could be the perfect activity for the rest of your life. Tai chi is often described as ‘meditation in motion,’ but it might well be called ‘medication in motion.’”

Spiritual Application: While performing exercises that improve balance, keep a prayer in your heart and ask yourself,  how can I better use my time? How can I stand unwavering and leave time for sufficient rest, exercise, work, family, relaxation and recreation?

4. Endurance (aerobic)

The Lord has given us the promise that if we will live the word of wisdom and take care of our mortal tabernacles, then we “…shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint” (Doctrine and Covenants 89:20).

For several years, I had the opportunity to play college basketball wherein I grew to love the mental, emotional and physical benefits of exercise. But recently my appreciation for the chance to workout skyrocketed when I suffered a concussion that left me unable to exercise.

Any form of movement resulted in serious headaches for around six months. I was informed by doctors that my time playing contact sports were over. Such news left me feeling stunned. It was during that time that I realized that my spirituality was effected when my body was not properly cared for.

Eventually, I was cleared to begin exercising again. It was then that I began to notice that as I ran or performed other exercises, I could learn spiritual lessons. Running effected my spiritual growth and had taught me lessons about strengths, endurance and perseverance that I could not have learned without the kinesthetic experience.

Physical Application:

  • The Mayo Clinic suggest that each person” Get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity…You can do a combination of moderate and vigorous activity…Moderate aerobic exercise includes  such activities as brisk walking, swimming and mowing the lawn. Vigorous aerobic exercise includes such activities as running and aerobic dancing.”

Spiritual Application:While running, walking, swimming, or participating in another aerobic activity, ponder why we have been commanded to endure. Consider the following questions and suggestions. Just as races can be run in legs (segments), remember that rather than being overwhelmed by the command to endure to the end, seek to faithfully endure from Sunday to Sunday.

Break down spiritual endurance into manageable goals. Ask yourself the question, how does the Lord expect me to act as I strive to be stalwart and develop endurance?

Elder Klebingat quote about the connection between between being physically fit and Spiritual Growth

5. Maintain a Regular, Long-Term Exercise Program

Healthyplace.com reports that looking and feeling better physically through regular exercise can affect self esteem. They suggest that ” Not only does working out increase feel-good neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, there are many workouts that have been created to build you up mentally and physically. The act of moving your body helps your brain become more balanced and mindful of your emotions.”

So decide today to not only be physically fit but to gleen the spiritual lessons you can gain through exercise. Use these 5 suggestions and develop a plan that fits your lifestyle. Prepare yourself to learn physical and spiritual lessons from  physical fitness.

Physical Application:

  • Learn what it means to run and not be weary and walk without fainting.
  • As you take care of your temporal body your ability to feel the Spirit will increase.
  • Do not focus on how far you have to go in your personal fitness goals, instead focus on wanting to feel better, rest more effectively, and feel the Spirit more acutely.

Spiritual Application: Make a concerted effort to record the spiritual lesson you learn as you take charge of your physical well-being. Exercising can be a fun outlet and a great way to build bonds with those you love while becoming spiritually fit. Seek to balance family, work, church responsibilities and exercise. Discover the power of stretching yourself spiritually and physically.

Today is the day to begin preparing ourselves to stand before God. Let go of  anything that has been prohibiting you from feeling confident about your physical and spiritual development.  I’ve heard some say, “look good, feel good, play good”  Today let this mantra jump start your determination to improving your overall health and well-being.

Tell us what ways you have seen your spiritual confidence increase as you have focused on your physical well-being? Comment below.

Elder Klebingat quote about the importance of long-term exercise and eating a proper diet.

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