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THE FITNESS CRAZE
by Frank King
11/26/05
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THE FITNESS CRAZE
By Frank King

The report card is out on America’s physical health, and she has flunked the test. Excessive body weight and obesity have reached epidemic levels. The problem is not limited to adults who tend to gain weight as they get older and become less active. An estimated 15 percent of all children and adolescents between the ages of six and nineteen are overweight or obese.

Ironically, America’s ever-increasing quality of life contributes to the problem. We walk less at the work place these days; it’s too easy to send an e-mail. Why spend hours shopping at the mall when you can do so on line? No matter where we are, via our cell phone, the world is at the tip of our fingers. I believe technology’s greatest challenges to our quest for a fitter America is yet to come. As businesses embrace the idea of letting its employees work more from their home, for instance, they will become even more sedentary.

Then there is the metro sprawl. Residents of large cities find themselves having to move farther from town to find a place to live. The commute to and from work has gotten increasingly longer, so we spend more time sitting in our cars. The convenience store is no longer conveniently located but requires a drive in lieu of a neighborhood walk.

Acknowledging the magnitude of the problem, an army has formed to wage war on America’s ill health. Our public schools are endeavoring to serve more nutritious meals in its lunchrooms. Health officials are leaning on the fast food industry to trim the fat and size of their meals. To reduce lost time at work due to illnesses and to increase productivity, more businesses are helping employees incorporate exercise into their workday. Our current health epidemic translates into a burdensome medical bill being shared by every taxpayer.

Meanwhile, other sectors of society are riding the waves of our health crisis to fuel a fitness craze. You can buy the diet pill that lets you eat anything you want to while still losing weight. Health clubs are springing up everywhere. TV commercials advertise the so-called latest exercise equipment on the market guaranteed to give you the perfect body. In effect, we almost deify the physically fit body today.

There is no question about it; exercise is good for our physical body. There is, however, a spiritual part of us that we must train also. In fact, we should devote more time to the latter because bodily exercise benefits us only in this life, but spiritual investments pay off eternally (1 Timothy 4:8).

The goal of spiritual training is godliness. This denotes a piety that pleases God. The point is there are Christians who attend church regularly but whose legalistic, religious ways displease the Lord. They can, however, condition themselves to become godly through a yielded life of prayer, Bible study, worship, and service.

Health officials are on the right track. Eating correctly and exercising regularly are important. Conscientiously done, they can transform our physical body. But for Christians our greater passion must be for spiritual exercise that shapes us into the very image of Christ.
 










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