Exercise is not a virtue, but…


I have found lately that I am getting a little more impatient with my kids.  I get impatient when I am tired.  I am tired when I don’t sleep well.  To remedy that I should exercise. When I exercise I sleep well.  When I sleep well, I am not tired.   When I am not tired I have more patience.  When I have more patience, life in the home is much more pleasant for all involved. So while exercise is not a virtue.  Patience is.  So I should exercise for that simple reason.

Lately I have also found that I am lethargic in the mornings.  In the evenings when I get home from work I am tired and simply want to crash on the couch. But of course I can’t, there is a family to care for.  A couple weekends ago, at the Men of Integrity retreat, I went for a hike with some other guys.  When I arrived at the top of a hill, I took a quick look at the view, and then turned around and went back to the lodge. My knee was killing me, my heart was pounding, and I was breathing hard as if I had run a marathon.  “I must be getting old,” I thought to myself.

2 years ago I was out for a short 5km run when my knee gave out.  There was a lot of discomfort and some mild pain; I was unable to continue running that morning or for the next few days.  I have not run since.  And I slowly stopped all forms of exercise, as I became busier in my life.

Recently, Kaitlyn asked me why I did not exercise anymore.  She was reminiscing about sitting on my back while I did push-ups, helping me lift weights, switch out the plates on the barbell, controlling the timer while I did tabata training, or timing my planks (and flopping on me and giggling when I collapsed).  While talking to Kaitlyn about my lack of fitness, Meagan, my 3 year old, walked past us, stopped and grinned, “Daddy has a big tummy.”


When a 3 year old says you are getting bigger, maybe it is time to evaluate… I stepped on the scale to find that I have gained about 30 pounds in the past 2 years.   That is 1.25 pounds gained per month.  Getting old?  Nope that is not my problem.  Inactivity is my problem!  Apparently exercise is important, who knew? Over the course of 2 years with decreasing physical activity I slowly I gained weight and became unhealthy, hardly even noticing it, until just recently.

While this is not really amusing, I am mildly amused by it because that is what happened to me spiritually, many years ago.  I would get too busy and skip devotions and bible study.  I would tell myself, “It’s ok, it’s only for one day.”  Then that one day per week turns into 2 days, then 3 days and soon you are only reading the bible and praying at dinnertime.  I became spiritually fat and lazy.  I was spiritually unhealthy because I was not feeding on the Word of God.   When I stopped feeding on the word of God, I opened myself up to spiritual disease – temptation and sin.

So while my sinful vanity and pride initiated the evaluation of my health.  I have taken a step back and looked at it from a spiritual and familial point of view.  When I am healthy, I am better able to keep up with my kids.  I have more energy to participate in their likes.  I have more patience.  I sleep better.

No, exercise is not a virtue, but I have started exercising again. What about you?


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  1. Rob Schouten says:

    Hi Ryan,

    Here’s a great motivational video and it’s only about five minutes. Do watch it! You’ll find yourself amused and encouraged which is not a bad combination.

    • Thank you for that video Pastor. It was quite entertaining and informative. It is amazing what 30 minutes of activity per day can do for a person. I routinely tell people how easy it is to make 30 minutes per day to have devotions…now I am telling myself the same thing for exercise!

  2. I started running again in the new year, but in the last few weeks being busy and rain has kept me from it. You’re right, though, I should get back at it. Thanks for the motivation!

    • I notice excuses in your response…I am the king of excuses when it comes to reasons to not be fit. I am glad that my unhealthy ways the last two years has motivated you Ron. I just had a flash back to the garage and jumping jacks … 🙂

  3. cecile says:

    Me thinks it is time your girls ‘walk the dad’ 🙂

  4. Ben Nelson says:

    Good post – this is a good analogy to spiritual flabbiness. It is so easy to put it aside now and then and not see the cumulative effects of our spiritual laziness.
    Thanks Bro!