(Hint: Losing weight is not in this list. More on why later.)
I’m a big fan of physical exercise, and not just because I practise medicine, although that has contributed a little.
Here are the top reasons.
- I want to achieve something I like to call “fifty and fit.” My grandfather is over eighty and still very active. He’s out of the house most days, doing something in church or with one community group or the other. He kept going to his farm until past seventy, too. I want to be like that. But it doesn’t happen by stuffing myself with junk and burning as little of it as possible. I once heard someone say that most people want to live long, but most don’t care enough for their bodies to make the old age less burdensome. I want to be able to walk and not pant, to be active and not easily tired, and it starts now.
- I want my body to last as long as my mind. For real. I take my mind very seriously, and I shudder at the thought that I may have to shove off because I was careless with its housing. That’d be like having to discard a still half-full tin of milk because I let it get sour by forgetting to put it in the fridge – worse than spilling it, if you ask me. Even worse is the prospect of my mind going to rot while my body’s still kicking, when there’s evidence that a little more physical activity can hold off even stroke. No, sir – this guy wants to go out guns blazing.
- I want to learn what is probably the easiest level of discipline. Here’s how I see it. Mental work is hard, spiritual work even more so. If I can’t haul my behind in gear (literally), what are my chances of achieving the more important stuff? And especially when it’s obvious that keeping in physical shape does wonders for both mind and spirit? Shouldn’t I be looking to get the most I can out of myself, of all people?
Why isn’t weight loss there? Because I’m slim? (And yes, I actually am.) No, it’s because I think it’s an inefficient reason to work out. (You can lose weight and still be unfit, and then what’s the point?)
So tell me: would this make you reconsider exercise?
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