When we talk about stewardship in church, rarely do we include stewardship over our physical bodies. We don’t eat or drink in the sanctuary, and we quickly address persons who smoke on church property. However, when it comes to our physical bodies, we neglect one the greatest gifts in which God blessed us.
It is no wonder that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S., and African-Americans are at a greater risk for developing cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, stroke and other diseases including diabetes. We haven’t been good stewards over our bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19–20 says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies,” (NIV). The context of these verses is sexual immorality, but they can be applied to caring for ourselves. We do not belong to ourselves. We are caretakers over everything in our possession including our money, homes, children, and our bodies. We honor God with our bodies when we do the best we can to keep them in tip-top shape. No, you don’t have to run marathons or be an athlete, but there is something we all can do to improve our physical health and well-being.
Certified Personal Trainer Jamaal Piper of Piper Personal Training in Washington, D.C. provided some tips to be better stewards over our bodies.
To improve your cardiovascular health, Jamaal offers the following advice:
“Start with walking at least 30 minutes, 4 to 5 days a week. Then progress to more intense forms of exercise such as running. Unless you’re training for a long-distance race, avoid staying at the same pace for an extended periods of time. Varying degrees of intensity will increase your metabolism greater than steady work. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) combines strength and cardiovascular exercises and is great to get a full body workout in a short period of time. By paying closer attention to intensity levels and duration, you can reap the benefits of an intense session without wasting long amounts of time logging miles on the treadmill.”
Many of us, myself included, are intimidated by weight or strength training, but Jamaal encourages it.
Strength training is important for your overall health. Strength training will add definition to your muscles, and it protects bone health and muscle mass. Strength training is also called resistance training because it involves contracting your muscles against a resisting force. There are two types of resistance training:
- Isometric resistance involves contracting your muscles against a non-moving object, such as against the floor in a push-up.
- Isotonic strength training involves contracting your muscles through a range of motion as in weightlifting.
Strength training plays a role in disease prevention, boost energy, and burns calories.
What great advice for encouraging stewardship over one’s body!