A discipline is an activity that is regular, routine, and takes self-discipline to keep it regular and routine. Spiritual disciplines are very important to our relationship to God and our spiritual growth. Reading our Bible every day with a reading plan, spending time with God in prayer everyday, memorizing and meditating on scripture, reading good Christian books, listening to lectures and sermons, and regular church attendance.
As I wrote in my last blog physical disciplines are for most people the most difficult to maintain, but when they are maintained faithfully it seems that all the other disciplines become easier to accomplish.
In our day there are so many different options for regular exercise.
Walking is one of the easiest and most basic requiring nothing but some good shoes. If you Google walking as exercise you will find all kinds of benefits physically, emotionally, and mentally. The cool thing about walking is you can listen to pod casts, the Bible or spend the time praying. You can buy an inexpensive treadmill to use when the weather is bad.
A gym membership is a great way to maintain an exercise program with all kinds of options available. Most gyms have treadmills, exercise bikes, weights, and some have swimming pools. Gym memberships are harder to maintain faithfulness in because of the added discipline and time of driving. One of the things that will tremendously ramp up success in any exercise program is to do it with someone else. The added accountability will overcome the reluctance we often have to get out of bed or out of our chair and go do it.
Personally, I ride a stationary bicycle that I have in our home almost every day for an hour. It has a little table attached to it in the front that I can set my Ipad on so I can read the Bible, read good books on Kindle, I can watch sermons on You Tube, or watch how to rebuild the brakes on my car. Riding my stationary bike has been a very successful discipline for keeping my Parkinson’s under control. Riding a stationary bike is very low impact on joints and almost anybody can do it.
I also have built a room in my shop that I can lift weights in. I built a squat rack out of 2×6’s and bought a bench for doing bench presses, and have a pipe in the squat rack as a safety so I don’t get pinned under the bar while doing bench presses. I have a little heater in the room so cold weather doesn’t become an excuse. I downloaded an app that I use to keep track of my lifting which automatically increases the pounds I lift as I am successful with current weight. I alternate between six lifts, I do five sets of five squats, five sets of five bench presses, and five sets of five barbell rows. The next day I do five sets of five overhead presses, five sets of five arm curls, and five sets of five dead lifts. I take a one-minute break between sets and memorize Bible verses. I have been very sporadic in my weight lifting discipline for the last year, but I recently got my bow out to practice for the upcoming deer and elk archery season and I couldn’t pull it back so I am weight lifting like crazy right now.
I also started up running again. I used to run a lot in my 50’s and 60’s but stopped about five years ago. I am going to run a half marathon on Thanksgiving Day in Albany this year.
One of the things that keeps me motivated is reading periodically articles on the benefits of various exercises. As I get older I am getting stiff, more aches and pains, weaker, and more and more tired, plus all the physical complications from Parkinson’s. Regular exercise helps tremendously, I just have to make it happen.
The single most important key to success is write exercise goals, read them every day, and share them with others who promise to ask you how you are doing.