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After we have nourished our spirit, mind and body, if we don’t exercise, what happens?
Well I think we’ve probably all experienced it…
We get sluggish.
Fat storages build up.
We lose energy and that bounce in our step.
And when/if we do finally get back to the gym, oh man do we feel it! (Can I get a witness?)
After time away from this vital part of our routine, we have to make up for the muscle atrophy our sedentary season cost us. 
Exercise and fitness is an essential part of our spiritual, mental and physical growth.
Exercise is how we…
Maintain length and fullness of life.
Burn calories (from the chocolate. *sigh*).
Gain strength and energy.
Reduce risk of disease.
Stay fit and sharp!
Exercise has so many proven benefits physically… what if the same is true mentally and spiritually?
Furthermore, how do we exercise our spirit and mind?
Spiritual exercise involves applying ACTION to our faith. 
We can feed our spirit all kinds of nourishment through sermon podcasts, spiritual growth books, the Bible, going to church… but if we don’t exercise our faith, our spiritual muscles get flabby.
“But don’t just listen to God’s Word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” {James 1:22 NLT}
We must be DOERS of the Word. This may involve walking in love, standing in faith, controlling our tongue, holding on to a promise from God as time passes, praying out the will of God, inquiring of the Lord when we have questions or need guidance, or submitting to our husband or parents. We can’t expect our spiritual muscles to grow if we aren’t actually applying the Word (in practical ways) to our lives. 
Mental exercise is very easy to overlook. It involves brain games, new perspectives, puzzles, and applied knowledge. Gotta stay sharp and keep our minds active!
And physical exercise, well, duh. Get moving! Whether it’s taking a class at your gym, walking your dog everyday, or pulling one of those dusty work-out DVD’s off the shelf, any physical activity is always better than no activity at all.
Here are 7 Practical Ways to Exercise Your Spirit, Mind and Body:
Spirit –
  1. Pray. For yourself or for someone else.
  2. Teach someone one thing the Lord has shown you. I always find that when I teach, my own revelation of what I’m teaching is expanded and deepened.
  3. Worship / Praise the Lord. It’s amazing the effect praise has on stirring and exercising your faith!
  4. Have a faith project. We all have changes we want to make, but rather than start the change on the outside, start it on the inside! Set your faith to it. Gather friends who can agree with you, find Scriptures to back it up, pray and agree, then stand!
  5. Fast. Setting aside something we enjoy physically always effects us spiritually (and the inverse is true too – selah). For more on fasting, check out this blog.
  6. Write a faith confession. Faith SPEAKS. Get some Scriptures together, write them out in first person, and put a copy on your mirror so you can confess the Word everyday.
  7. Obey. Obedience is evidence that faith is there. What’s the last thing you read in Scripture that God prompted you to put into practice? Perhaps it’s to start saving money, call an old friend, give some clothes away, or start waking up earlier to spend time with Him. When we trust God, obedience will follow. (John 8:31; 14:15)
Mind/Will/Emotions –
  1. Read. Maybe it’s time to take a break from your typical spiritual growth curriculum? (Don’t get me wrong, I am ALWAYS reading spiritually-based books and I enjoy them!) Pull out a book that will expand you mentally, perhaps about one of your favorite hobbies (sewing, crafting, drawing, playing an instrument) or different cultures or subjects (history, communication, leadership, etc.).
  2. Have a healthy discussion. This can be pouring your heart out to a fellow believer, working through conflict with a family member (see this blog on Communication), or having a discussion with someone who doesn’t think/believe the way you do. These are all great for our emotional muscles.
  3. Learn something new. Children are so curious and they are always asking questions. Since when did we lose our sense of curiosity? Start learning again by ASKING questions. Or go to half-price books and pick out a book on a new language, or subject (calligraphy, photography, jazz…).
  4. Imagine. “Write the vision, make it plain…” What would you do with your life, if you could do anything? …If money were no object? Let your imagination go wild and write it down. We serve a BIG God, sisters, so we can dream big!
  5. Do something out of your comfort zone. Remember that bucket list you made? It’s time to start crossing things off that list! Go skydiving, snorkeling, take a cruise, pay off someone’s car, pray for a stranger, train for a 5K!
  6. Get a mentor / Be a mentor. You can have multiple mentors in various areas – finance, business/career, writing, motherhood, marriage counsel, etc.
  7. Puzzle yourself. Sudoku. Crossword puzzles. Or just plain ‘ole puzzle-puzzles! I enjoy a good puzzle and I’ve gotten lost in sudoku before. These seemingly ‘mindless’ activities actually give your mind a good run for the money. Bonus: these mental exercises can actually be stress-relieving!
Body – 
  1. Take the stairs (cliche, but hey, every little bit counts!).
  2. Take a walk. 15 minutes away from home, 15 minutes back. Easy peasy.
  3. Take a class. Yes sister, you know that zumba / kickboxing / yoga class has been calling your name! The group fitness model has always been a favorite for me – if I can schedule it, I’ll stick to it! Plus, it’s just fun!
  4. Take it one step at a time. (Literally.) A few months ago, I got a pedometer to measure my daily steps. It’s very eye-opening! The average person should take 10,000 steps a day but who wants to count that high? 😉 Having a pedometer (or even an app to count your steps) can help find your current daily steps and encourage you to move that number up.
  5. Make small adjustments. Maybe create a rule that anytime you are watching TV, you stand up and stretch / do calf raises / take a lap up/down the stairs, etc. at each commercial break. Or put a sticky note on your mirror reminding you to do a wall-sit or lunges while you brush your teeth every morning/night.
  6. Dance in the kitchen. This is seriously a favorite pastime of mine. Turn on some music and bust a move while that stir fry is simmerin’! Do some lunges across the kitchen on your way to the fridge. Twirl and jump and laugh at yourself. (I know I do!)
  7. Stand up. Who knew that just standing could count as exercise? Studies show that more and more, we are spending a majority of our time seated and sedentary (at a computer or driving). To give yourself a little boost, stand up any chance you get (maybe pace when you’re on the phone, or walk down the hall to ask a co-worker something instead of e-mailing them).
Physical exercise improves our fitness level and overall well-being, speeds up our metabolism, relieves stress, improves digestion and circulation, releases endorphins, increases flexibility, builds muscle tone, improves sleep, and makes us feel GOOD. Imagine if we exercised The WHOLE us (spirit, mind and body)!
“You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.” {1 Corinthians 9:24-27 MSG}
I hope you’ve been encouraged to get FIT, in every area of your life. It can be so easy to get complacent and satisfied with where we are that we forget we were created to live in a state of constant growth! Let’s live FIT, sisters!
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