Yesterday my wife wondered out loud, ‘maybe we should start the Couch to 5k challenge’. I wasn’t sure how to respond. Over the last year or so more and more of my friends have been taking up the challenge. They’ve been telling me how good it is and how quickly or slowly they’ve been progressing. However, I’d never really considered it was for me.
Why not? I guess if you pushed me, I’d probably say I didn’t need to exercise any more than I already do – at least that’s what I try to tell myself. I look back on an active childhood, walking and cycling everywhere. I was fairly fit as a teenager and find it hard to think it’s any different now.
Last year that myth exploded. We went on holiday to Scotland with the plan to climb Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain. The websites said that the climb should take between 4 and 6 hours to complete and the descent would be a lot quicker. No problem, I’d done it before so why not now.
It started well. We all felt fresh and ready for the walk. There was a bounce in our steps and I almost felt like I was jumping from one rock to the next. However, it didn’t last. The higher we got, the harder it became.
About half way up, the path begins to zigzag up the rocky side of the mountain and the incline steepens. My two teenage sons didn’t seem to notice and just kept going. I, on the other hand, slowed down to a snail’s pace, concentrating on just putting one foot in front of the other. If it wasn’t for a sheer determination not to be beaten by my kids, I don’t think I would have made it.
So, maybe I could do with a bit more exercise. Too many hours sitting behind a desk means it would be a good thing to be a bit more active. Couch to 5k? Maybe. I’m thinking about it.
Did you know that the NHS and fitness groups are not the only ones who tell us that physical exercise is good? The Bible does too. Yet, at the same time it also says that there is a kind of exercise that’s even more important.
For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.1 Timothy 4:8(NIV)
I always find that verse a challenge. I can be concerned about my physical fitness, but am I also concerned about my spiritual fitness? I might think about taking on physical exercise, but am I concerned about spiritual exercise? These are questions that are worth asking.
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