I started running a few years back as a way of getting my physical conditioning back into what it used to be (back in the glory days of youth). One of the things I least expected in getting into a steady and consistent habit of exercise was growing spiritually as I grew physically.
But as I took care of my body, I realised more and more how spiritually healthy I was also becoming. It soon became evident how exercise was not just making me physically fit but spiritually fit as well.
It's crazy—almost absurd—to think of exercise as a spiritual discipline. But there is plenty of evidence to prove it.
If you want to grow more spiritually, one of the things you should strongly consider is getting into a regular rudiment of physical exercise. Here are four spiritual benefits to exercising to convince you of that.
1. Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Healthy Spirit
The body, mind and spirit are so undeniably intertwined. When we're spiritually deprived, our body and mind feel its effects. When we're physically hyped up, we are also mentally and spiritually hyped up as well.
Jesus commanded us, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind..." (Luke 10:27)
When our whole being loves God, we grow in every aspect as well, especially the spiritual.
2. Discipline Gets To Everything
Physical discipline doesn't just remain physical discipline. It trickles down to every aspect of us. Rarely do I meet people who are disciplined physically that aren't disciplined financially, relationally or even spiritually. An increase in physical discipline can directly boost your spiritual discipline.
3. More Focus And Energy
A study by Patrick O'Connor, kinesiology professor Rod Dishman and lead author Tim Puetz over a controlled trial of 6,807 subjects showed that exercise significantly decreased levels of fatigue in people.
When we focus more and have more energy to do things, you start to do more things. What if you could actually do more for your spirit more than just your career, relationships or ministry? Take more time to read the Bible, worship God or to serve others as a means to be refreshed yourself.
4. Good Health As Worship
1 Corinthians 6:19 is a good reminder: "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own."
Because our bodies are now God's temples and the Holy Spirit now dwells in us, it only makes sense that we care for it more. When we care for our bodies by being pure and keeping ourselves healthy, we are actually worshipping God.