Jordan Rubin, in his excellent book The Maker’s Diet, writes this about exercise (p. 172):
God created us to live, move, work, play, overcome obstacles, and win victories throughout life. He never intended for us to sit around and wait for death. Some confirmed couch potatoes have confidently justified their lackadaisical approach to life by quoting the passage from the King James Bible, “For bodily exercise profiteth little” (1 Tim. 4:8). They conveniently forget that Timothy probably walked everywhere he went and got more exercise in one day than most people do today in a week. Modern translations more accurately paint the picture and remove the “lazy boy loophole,” saying, “For physical training is of some value” (1 Tim. 4:8, NIV, emphasis added).
So how can a busy mother fit exercise into her schedule? What types of exercise are best for her?
The myth of aerobic exercise
Jordan Rubin points out that aerobic exercise has been exalted too highly. We are told that we should keep our heart rate elevated for at least 30 minutes. However, in truth, aerobic exercise has not been proven to prevent heart attacks. In addition, aerobic exercise has been shown to weaken the immune system. Your heart doesn’t need endurance training to be strong. It needs to have reserves so that it can function at peak capacity in a moment of stress.
Jordan Rubin writes that “exercise should mirror real life.” Real-life activities, such as walking, hunting wild game for food, building buildings, cultivating fields, and preparing meals, are what our bodies are created to do.
These kinds of activities are predominantly anaerobic, activities that require briefly sustained exertion. Rather than spending lots of time with aerobic exercise, Jordan Rubin recommends the following:
- Walking — Jordan Rubin recommends a brisk, two-mile walk each day. If you’re not used to that much walking, author Diana Schwarzbein recommends that you begin by walking 15 minutes twice a day, working up to more over time.
- Functional Fitness — Jordan Rubin recommends movements that are natural to the body’s muscles as the most effective type of fitness available. Some common types of “functional fitness” are Jordan Rubin’s own Functional Fitness program or the PACE program. Since many exercise programs are expensive, you can design your own program by thinking about how your muscles would be used if you were working very hard and stretching often.
- Deep-breathing Exercise — Jordan Rubin explains that your body needs plenty of oxygen in order to function correctly. Using good posture (sitting tall, standing tall, walking like a queen) will help, as will gentle stretches where you remember to breathe deeply. I enjoy using Praise Moves, which helps me stretch and breathe properly while also praising and praying.
- Rebounding — Many health professionals, such as Jordan Rubin, are praising rebounding, which is simply bouncing on a small trampoline. Many of these “rebounders” are quite expensive, but I’ve been making do with an inexpensive model from my local supercenter. Rebounders are good for the lymphatic system, the circulation, and your spine. (Besides, they’re fun!)
The most important thing about exercise is that we use the body God gave us. If we don’t use our muscles, we will lose strength. If we don’t stretch, we’ll lose the ability to move. We need to be careful not to overdo (as is often the case with aerobic exercise), but we must also remember that God designed us to move. Now that the weather is nicer, let’s be sure we’re moving every day.