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?