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TITLE: Maintaining Your Temple
By C.M. Erickson
01/28/08
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I'm looking to submit this to a Christian woman's magazine. Please let me know if the workouts make sense to the average person, and if the peice has "flow" (or anything else, for that matter!)
As Christian women, we spend a great deal of time taking care of everyone else in our lives, all the while neglecting ourselves. We carefully watch over our homes, our families, our Christian service, and for some of us, our jobs. There are only 24 hours in a day, and we can barely fit in all of our responsibilities, much less find time take care of ourselves by working out. Years can pass as we live in this mode of constant service to others until one day we look in the mirror and wonder where our energy and joy went.

It is never too late (or early) to start taking care of yourself. 1 Cor. 6:19-20 tells us, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. So glorify God in your body.” While this verse has many applications for our lives, it reminds us that as Christians, our body is a temple that houses the Holy Spirit. This is a high honor, and not one to be taken lightly. Yet so often we neglect God’s temple in favor of our other pressing responsibilities. We tell ourselves that it’s selfish to take time for ourselves, especially with the children needing nurturing in godliness (and math), a husband who needs support, a house to clean, food to cook, and volunteering at the church! One often overlooked fact is that your fitness level has a direct impact on your attitude, your ability to think clearly, the quality of your sleep, and even your ability to keep up with all the responsibilities of your life. When you find the time to take care of your fitness, you’ll find that all other parts of your life improve.

No matter how hectic your schedule is, you can find room for exercise. To see results, you can start with as little as 30 minutes, three times a week. Get your husband on board (what husband would not want his wife to be healthier and happier?). Make a pact together to take a half hour walk as a family after dinner. You can always record that pressing TV show for later watching, and you just might be surprised at how your intimacy with your family improves with forced conversation. Perhaps Dad can play with the children after he gets home while you go for a jog. His playing with the children is critical for their healthy emotional growth, and you get in a good half hour or more of exercise. Just get dinner into the crock pot in the morning and the time crunch of preparing dinner is off your shoulders! If you are a stay at home mom, find a few female friends with children the same age as yours and set up a play date – at the track. With a little prior planning for snacks, diapers, and toys, you can let your children play in the centerfield while you walk or jog around the track. You are getting good exercise and adult conversation with your children constantly in sight, your children are getting fresh air and are learning interpersonal skills, and best of all, it is free!

If funds are available, you can join a gym. Many gyms today offer childcare, so you can work out within easy reach of your children. Personal trainers are available for advanced exercise technique, but a treadmill, stationary bike, and elliptical machine are all relatively straightforward to use for any beginner. The best way to blast calories is with intervals, which are periods of easy exercise followed by moderate to hard exercise in succession. My favorite half hour workout is a half hour interval you can do on any machine or even outside. Start with five minutes of easy exercise to warm up, followed by this interval combination: one minute moderate exercise (conversational pace), one minute medium hard exercise (broken conversation), and one minute hard exercise (you cannot keep up a conversation). Repeat that interval a total of seven times, then follow it with an easy four minute cool down.

No matter what your current fitness level, you can start today taking steps to a healthier future. Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit – let’s make it healthy and vibrant. Your family just might thank you for it!
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