During camp I was amazed at how much people who once had lots of strength and stamina are now huffing and puffing at the least amount of exertion.  Then yesterday, as I was putting a good friend who is wheelchair bound into my car, I realized that he too had lost almost all of his stamina.  The strength is still there; but his ability to do something for more than a few seconds at a time is gone.

Fifteen years ago, when I realized that I was turning a corner in the area of my strength, balance and stamina, I started an exercise program.  I studied what made for a successful exercise program by listening and reading the experts.  The first ten years, I exercised with what I had formerly called “the idiots on TV.”  However, I found that these men and women had their master’s and doctorate in their field of study.  They understood and knew the operations of the body.  Under their tutelage, I learned a great deal about what makes a body function properly.  Understand, I’m not an expert in this area but here are a few things that I’ve learned from the experts.

  • Within six weeks with a minimal amount of consistent hard work anyone can turn the corner, renewing our strength and stamina. 
  • Denise Austin and several other fitness experts have asserted that flexibility determines about 90 percent of your quality of life.  If you can’t move, you can’t do things.
  • Therefore, stretching must be worked into any exercise program.  Ten minutes a day will maintain your flexibility through out your life. 
  • New statistics say that women who are post menopausal must have one hour of exertion each day to merely maintain their a normal body weight. 
  • Sleep resets our bodies’ metabolism.  It is vital to get the proper amount of sleep each day.
  • The key is consistency.  Yes, six weeks will give you an amazing boost.  That is the doorway.  To keep the door open, you need a key and that is simply having the discipline to get up and do what needs to be done day in and day out.
  • Do not go out and buy a complete set of weights and a gym full of equipment. 
  • Let delayed gratification work for you in regard to your exercise program.  Adding small pieces of exercise equipment will bring new excitement to your exercise plan and keep you interested.
  • Keep your monetary investment at an absolute minimum, especially at the beginning.  I have a cheap peddle apparatus that is $35 at Wal-Mart.  I sit and peddle my way through one TV show each evening. 
  • Add a new piece of equipment occasionally to keep your interest peeked.  I first purchased $2, two-pound weights.  Then when I was ready, I bought 5-pound weights.  Eight and 10 pound weights were added after several years.   I have probably never invested more than $50 during  my entire exercise program.
  • Look for garage sales and Craig’s list for good used equipment when you are ready.  I think the most detrimental thing people do is purchase expensive equipment when they realize they need to exercise.  Then guilt keeps them from using it.  When you are ready, scoff up their bad purchases and make them your latest bargain.  My husband purchased three expensive pieces of equipment over the years.  He never used them.  I have worn out two of them, however.  His bad deals have become my good fortune.
  • Set a fixed schedule to exercise.  Daily is better.  However, twice a week is considered equally as good by almost everyone.

As we all know, ministry is hard work.  Specialized ministry is not for the weak in body or faint at heart.  Hauling and loading, moving and squatting will always be a part of what we must do.  We owe it to our members to be as fit as possible.  Paul said to Timothy that bodily exercise does have some benefit.  Maximize those benefits with a consistent and workable plan.

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