Physical Exercise


       Long ago, a man named Paul wrote that physical exercise is of some benefit.  This was a man raised to be a spiritual leader, and a man who had a very significant, life changing experience which the people with him could not see because it was being revealed only to his spirit.  Yet he wrote of the benefit of physical exercise.
       In a way, the physical body has no benefit.  It's here today, gone tomorrow.  It consumes resources, and may lend itself to helping and healing others, or hurting and destroying.  It seems to me from reading history and interacting with people today that most do the latter.  They think mostly of themselves and hurt others.  So why would I want to just throw choice words out to help such people?
       I hope that my interaction with people will give them a new perspective on their bodies and what they were created to do.  Most people simply lack the motivation to develop their physical  body to its potential.  Others find motivation that is self centered, and I believe that there is a strong tie between the spiritual health that leads to motives that sacrifice the good of others and the physical health outcome.  (As an extreme example, consider a gang member who wants to be buffed so that he or she can intimidate others.)
       The physical body is the place where our spirit resides while we are here on earth.  And if we come into relationship with the spirit of God, that spirit will dwell with us in this physical body.  It is only natural that we nourish it and take good care of it.  There is a great freedom one experiences when they are exercising the physical body for the right reasons.
        Here are a few recommendations for taking care of the body God has given you:

1)  Eat foods that contain the needed nutrients, and avoid excessive amounts of things that don't have an integral part in keeping your body up. (Soda pop, candy, etc.)

2)  Be disciplined about stretching muscles whenever you think about it and especially before physical training.

3)  Make sure that each day you spend a good amount of time (half hour minimum) doing a concentrated exercise that gets blood circulating in all parts of your body.   Extend your arms, rotate the shoulder parts, while sqeezing and extending fingers, rotating wrists.  Rotate ankles until they are actually feeling warm and move toes to maximum extent.   Deep knee bends with a jump at the end.  Run up and down stairs or on grass, TREATING EACH STEP as an individual exercise.  Concentrate on what you are doing.  HOPE that  you will hit a pothole so that you can use those muscles to "push out" of the obstacle.  Not getting hurt while exercising has to do with focusing on what you are doing at all times.  This builds a discipline in us.

4)  Dance for joy to the Lord or run through fields he's made enjoying communion with him.  As the great sprinter Eric Liddel said, "When I run I feel his pleasure".  Whatever you do, do it for his glory.  In this you will find the optimum benefit in whatever you do.  A heart that focuses on the creator allows the body and mind to function together as they were designed.

~Some personal experiences~

        I can recall playing football as a child.  My body wasn't any more well trained than the bodies of my classmates, but I had a natural gift.  I believe that gift went hand in hand with my spirit's attitude.  I wasn't good at receiving glory.  I had a resistance to setting my self up as someone to be admired because it brought conflict in my spirit.  I knew I hadn't done ANYTHING special to be able to carry the entire playground around on my back until I grew so tired I would just toss the ball on the ground while playing "Smear the alternative lifestyle person"....(Want to keep this page PC ya know...)  Come to think of it, maybe it was because I was homophobic that I never let them smear me... never thought about that.  Oh well, in any case, MY FOCUS was not on looking better than others, or whatever.  I just loved the game.  Football is still my favorite sport.
       In High School, after taking a few years out because my parents banned me from the game due to excessive glasses breakage in 6th grade, I put the helmet on for CVHS in Corvallis, Oregon.  Unknown to me at the time, my mother had a talk with the coach and threatened him or something, fearing that I would loose my other eye.  I tried to explain to her that they don't use jousting sticks or anything, but she was determined to see that I would not be able to pursue my dream of using the gifts I had been given.  Thus, I stayed on the JV team and kicked the ball.  I used a straight toe kick, and managed a 45 year field goal into a 5mph wind in a college PE class as my record.  With the short approach, I never quite hit at 50 yards which I considered a goal.  On a kickoff approach I cleared that distance often.
       But I was kept out of the action for the most part.  I sensed that something was funny, and that made me tentative.  It wasn't the fun game it used to be a lot of the time.  And my old buddies didn't want to play with me anymore because they'd always get hurt.   During the opening game of my junior year, I kicked off and assaulted the wedge, and slammed the ball carrier on his head.  It was fairly impressive I thought.  Surely they'll play me more.  They did not.  I satisfied my parents wishes and studied my senior year, and played basketball where people can stick their fingers in your eye much easier.   My school went from an 0-9 record my junior year to a 9-0 record.  (I think my jv team won four games that year.)
       Well, all that to say that there is a strong correlation between our physical performance, our physical SAFETY, and the attitude of our heart.  When I play with the joy of being in a great game with a bunch of people just celebrating the talents God has given the point of rejoicing when the other team does good!.... I do good.  I do REAL good. :-)
       But when it's for vanity.... I think of an ultimate example.  I took this football class in PE at OSU in 1979.  Right.  The one where I kicked my best field goal.  It's also the class where I hit my longest punt ever.  I've never been a punter, but that day we were having a "test".  It was a test to see how our abilities were in several categories so that we could be tested again at the end of the class to see how much we improved.
       Well, so there I was.  My friend Paul Downey is kidding around with me, knowing my rotten luck and saying "now Bob, you don't want to try real hard here remember".  Well, I didn't.  I just kicked it nice and easy....60 yards in the air....!  I've never come close.  I think I hit a few 50, but this was phenomenal.  WHY wasn't the coach down there trying to draft me?  I don't know.  But at the end of the term I hit my usual 45 yarder and got a "C" since I improved marginally in other areas that I determinedly did poorly in after the punt.
      It made Paul laugh.  Maybe that was worth more than my gpa.  I don't know. When you allow the spirit to live in your physical activities, things take an odd twist at times.  Why could I vertically leap as high as my friend Alan Chambers who high jumped 6'10" for OSU, while I could barely clear 5'?  (Using any style from Fos to hurdle I might add.  I was hoping they would add a "REALLY high hurdles" event just for me. :-)  )  I don't know.  The body is an amazing thing, and the spirit is so integral with it.  Nobody can explain these things on paper.  They make no sense whatsoever.  More to come  -Bob