Why exercise? Because you’re fat. Because you’re unfit. Because you’re flabby. Because you’re weak.  Because you are a disgrace to the male species! Lots of great reasons, but as I argued in the last video, there’s no greater reason than the God-given duty to steward our bodies for the Lord.

If your mirror doesn’t persuade you and if the theology of the body doesn’t persuade you, then listen to science. Here’s the Mayo Clinic’s seven reasons why you should exercise. Here are some others:

      1. It helps to expel unhelpful chemicals from our systems and stimulates the production of helpful chemicals.
      2. It strengthens not just the body but also the brain.
      3. Walking just two miles a day reduces the risk of cognitive decline and dementia by 60 percent.
      4. Exercise triggers the growth of new brain cells, it’s a kind of mental fertilizer that helps the brain grow, maintain new connections, and stay healthy.
      5. Exercise and proper rest patterns generate about a 20 percent energy increase in an average day.

So, given that the why is so obvious. Let’s deal with the what, the when, and the how.

First get advice. If you’re really out of shape, you should see your doctor before beginning any kind of exercise program. If he gives you the all clear, then why not join a local gym or YMCA, where you can either get a few sessions with a personal trainer or join one of the group classes? Either way, you’ll have the confidence that you are doing the right thing in the right way. There is no point in pouring lots of time and energy into something if you are doing it all wrong and just damaging yourself.

Second, have a clear aim. Motivation is the key to exercise. What’s your “Why?” Is it to lose weight? Is it to build strength or stamina? What’s your aim and how will you know if you are reaching it? If you can get clarity on these questions, you’ve won half the battle.

Third, build slowly. As in previous videos, small and regular is better than big and rare.

Fourth, just to underline, you need a routine. You will never keep this up if you do it just when you feel like it or can fit it in. Once you’ve done it for a few weeks at the same time, you will no longer have an argument with your fat and unfit self. You’ll just do it.

Fifth, be accountable. Keep a record of what you do and share it with your wife or a friend to make sure you are doing it and making progress.

Sixth, play a sport. Running or working out on your own is good, but it can get real boring. You can reduce the boredom factor by listening to a sermon or an audiobook, but why not join a team or a club and do a sport with others.

Come on guys. If the fittest part of you is your fingers from playing computer games and porning, there’s something wrong with you. In fact, one of the best ways to break addiction to games and sex is to exercise vigorously. So much else goes right if you get this right.

Real men exercise.

Discussion Questions

  1. What sort of regular exercise will you add to your life? What will you do? When will you do it? Who will you be accountable to?
  2. What are obstacles to regular exercise and how will you overcome them?
  3. What is your why? What’s your greatest motivation for exercise? What’s your aim?

Further Reading

How Does Physical Exercise Relate to Sanctification?

Do You Exercise Like a Nonbeliever?

Wendy Suzuki: The brain-changing benefits of exercise | TED Talk

Regular Exercise Is Part of Your Job

Jog Your Memory: The Effects of Exercise on the Brain

What happens to our brains when we exercise and how it makes us happier

12 Tips for Getting Regular Exercise — and the Benefits for Happiness and Fitness