Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Start Huffin' and Puffin'!
I was at the gym yesterday and saw blog reader Ian, as well as another St. Paul's member. In fact there are a number of our members who hang out there fairly regularly and we all huff and puff in our various ways. Now someone like Ian is a young buck and looks fit, as does reader Johnny who is diligent in his physical regime. Others of us are making some concessions to age, and we do our best.
It turns out that "doing our best" makes a difference. According to recent studies, being physically active enough to work up a sweat and raise the heart rate at least three or four times a week has positive results in body, mind and spirit. They don't put it that way, but here are the findings. Keeping up this exercise pattern after age 40 can extend our lifespan by ten to fifteen years. It promotes the growth of new brain cells and aids memory. It reduces the risk of dementia by up to a third. And exercise is a mood enhancer which can lessen the possibility of depression.
What are we all waiting for! Of course, as good as it sounds, exercise takes time and will power. It can be a real challenge for busy parents and commuters and those who just don't enjoy working up a sweat. My wife Ruth and I find that the accountability of being active together is a strong motivator. When age sixty is out there on the horizon it gets easier to find excuses.
When Beth Lettner, our current pastoral care person was our parish nurse St. Paul's had a greater emphasis on the balance of body, mind and spirit. We changed Beth's job description and while we still have her dedication, we lost something in translation, it seems to me.
I have confidence in the life to come, but we were created to enjoy this present life to its fullness as well. What are your reflections on physical activity? Do you wish you were doing more? Should congregations be in the business of promoting physical health?