Exercise is good for the body and can be good for the soul. Experts tell us that we should exercise regularly. It takes at least 20 minutes of cardio exercise to give our hearts a good work out. If this is done regularly, it can get boring, unless you have some type of strategy to overcome boredom. This can be done in different ways, like through varying your routine and trying new things. However, what do you do with your mind while you exercise? This list hopes to give you some ideas to get healthy spiritually as well as physically.
Exercise time does to need to be wasted time mentally or spiritually, but we can exercise, defeat boredom and grow spiritually at the same time. Try one of these ideas during your next workout!
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:15-17
One way to help focus your exercise time on God is to listen to music. Some purists will tell you not to do this, but the cadence and spiritual lessons can help the time go faster and encourage you at the same time, as well as giving you a beat to keep you motivated!
Find local Christian radio stations;
Find Christian music genres to find your preference;
See 100 uplifting song ideas to start your playlist!
“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” – 3 John 1:2
It is great to have goals for both our physical and spiritual exercise. One goal spiritually is to read the Bible through. Many Christians have never done this. To help you accomplish this goal you can listen to someone read the Bible to you (via MP3) while exercising. You can also read a few chapters of scripture and meditate while running.
Ideas to read the whole Bible through in a year;
See how studying and exercising together helps boost memory!
2 Timothy 2:1 – “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.”
A great time to pray is while you are exercising. (It is good to pray anytime – 1 Thessalonians 5:17). Prayer can include adoration, confession, thanksgiving and petition. For example, if you are running, you can pray one portion of this prayer during each exercise, or on each lap around the track.
Read how praying while you exercise can help you relax, de-stress and have a greater sense of peace!
1 John 1:5-7 – “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
A great way to memorize scripture is to repeat it over and over while exercising. As you find your rhythm during your workout, it will help with the memorization process.
Discover the best way and time to exercise for the best memory retention.
1 Corinthians 9:24 – “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
Taking the same idea of reading the Bible and memorizing, you can meditate on an idea while running. You can meditate on one of the names of God, the lesson in a Bible passage, or other areas while exercising.
Read the steps on how to meditate while you run.
Hebrews 12:1-3 – “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Many churches record their sermons and put them online. These can be put on an iPod or MP3 player, and listened to while exercising. A 30-40 minute workout is enough time to complete the average sermon.
Read about things to listen to, or not listen to, while running.
Matthew 7:24-27 – “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Exercise time is a good time to work on plans. You can think through what needs to be done, steps in accomplishing the task, where something could go wrong, and evaluation while you work out.
See some reasoning for why Christians should exercise.
Isaiah 40:28-31 – “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
Practice the lesson
If you have a Sunday School or another lesson to work on, one idea is to read the basic idea of the lesson through, and then work on specifics of the plan while exercising. You can think and pray through how it will be received by class members during your workout.
Discover tips for practicing speeches (or lessons) here.
2 Timothy 4:6-8 – “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
Believe it or not, you can serve others while you work out! Many people make exercise a routine, perhaps running in the park. Because you do our workout at the same time each day (as do others), faces will become familiar. Either while exercising, or when you see people later on, you can greet them and find out prayer requests or needs.
Read about an example of a gym ministry here.
Acts 20:22-24 – “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”
Singing is always possible while running. You can sing in your head and not bother anyone, or meditate on the lyrics and what they mean. You can also personalize the songs to yourself and worship while exercising.
Read about the health benefits of singing!
Colossians 3:15-17 – “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”