Don your exercise shoes and hit the shoveled sidewalks, indoor mall, or exercise club—any place you can exercise! It’s December, and although the Exercise ON Challenge is over, hopefully your daily exercise is not. (Read previous posts here, here, here, and here to learn more about the Exercise ON Challenge.)
What are some follow-up points for the Exercise ON Challenge?
Capitalize on every exercise opportunity—even the brief ones!
I’m happy to say that my husband and I both exceeded the goal of 1,350 minutes of moderate aerobic-type exercise! Although I’m an on-the-go, can’t-sit-still girl, my husband is a just-let-me-read couch potato. From the beginning I knew I would get my exercise minutes, but I had my doubts about him. However, before work, he was out walking for 10–15 minutes. For a little break from work, he would walk around the parking lot for another 10–15 minutes. Before hitting the couch in the evening, he’d grab a quick walk around a few blocks. It all added up! And he surpassed his goal.
Bask in the multiple benefits of physical and mental exercise!
Deb Burma reports, “What a fun challenge for me, personally! I found increased energy and I received encouragement, realizing that with the accountability of others added to my own personal goal, I could give priority to wellness even during a busy season.”
Increased energy. Wellness. Isn’t that what we all want? Exercise provides so many health benefits, including improved cholesterol, lower blood pressure, controlled diabetes, reduced stress, better memory, and more. And especially in these winter months, exercise helps with seasonal affective disorder.
Keep track of your exercise minutes.
Research shows that an exercise diary increases your chances of long-term exercise success. Another participant replies, “I always track my steps on my Garmin, but don’t have the exact time for biking. I walked 185 miles and estimate I biked at least 400 minutes.” She certainly met the Exercise ON Challenge. In addition to a variety of mobile apps for keeping track of your exercise time, here is a resource with several different exercise logs to download for free. https://www.wheatridge.org/logs
Ask someone to be your accountability partner.
One woman responded, “I started off really well, then life got in the way. I find it hard to stay balanced when there are so many demands.” Thankfully she, too, learned from the Exercise ON Challenge, and now a friend is going to come alongside her to support her efforts. Invite a friend to be your accountability partner. Each week your accountability partner simply asks, “How many minutes did you exercise last week?” Knowing you will be answering that question encourages you to exercise. In addition, it will open doors to dialogue and brainstorm about how to overcome barriers to exercise.
These four points can also be applied to our “spiritual exercise” of reading the Bible. Capitalize on every Bible reading opportunity—even the brief ones. Each morning before our boys dash off to high school, we read a Bible verse and say a quick prayer with them. Sometimes I will also text them a Bible verse that applies to their day. In the evening, we plan a time for family devotions including a Bible verse, discussion, and time for everybody to pray. Bask in the multiple benefits of reading the Bible. Receive God’s peace, joy, strength, and so many other benefits. Jesus declares, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you” (John 14:27). Keep track of your Bible reading. Keep a journal. An excellent resource is The Lutheran Study Bible: Journal Edition. Ask someone to be your accountability partner. Paul tells us, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
Even at this busy time of year, grab your exercise minutes, both physical and spiritual, so you can enjoy abundant exercise benefits. Mary, the mother of Jesus, did not need to keep an exercise journal because physical exercise was so much a part of her everyday life functionally. (Did you know that historians think the distance from Mary’s home to Elizabeth’s home was 70–100 miles?) As she traveled that distance early in her pregnancy, she probably walked most of those miles! Since I don’t need to walk 100 miles this week, I will be writing down my exercise minutes to keep me on track! And with Mary, I will be basking in the joy of the birth of the Savior of the world.