The following is an exert from my 40-day devotional, Beauty from Ashes. I hope it encourages you to view your body as a gift from God!
Day 8 – Getting Started
“Behold, I am doing a new thing” Isaiah 43:18
Bob Kellermann was a great man. He was the loving husband to Yolonda Kellerman for more than 60 years. He was the proud father of four beautiful daughters. And he was my grandfather. Which doesn’t make me biased at all. Because everyone who knew him, loved him.
My grandfather was active throughout much of his life. After serving in World War II, he worked as a bricklayer for many years. In his retirement, he and my grandma spent several days a week exercising at their “spa” (translated: local fitness center). He was also an avid golfer and loved taking his German Shepherd for walks around his neighborhood. In fact, the name “Maple Tree Cancer Alliance” stems from the Maple Trees that lined those streets he would walk on each day.
In 2007, my grandfather was diagnosed with colon cancer. It caught our entire family off guard, because we always looked at him as being so active and strong. Unfortunately, he had developed an aggressive form of the disease. We watched helplessly as his strength quickly began to fade.
Early on after his diagnosis, he told me that the most difficult side effect he was experiencing was fatigue. Of course, this would be a frustrating symptom to someone who had been so active all their life. Yet, fatigue is the most common side effect experienced by people with cancer. More than 98% of patients experience it.
My grandfather explained that this fatigue is more than just feeling tired. He described it as a whole-body exhaustion, affecting his ability to go about his normal daily life. An “all-I-can-do-is-lay-down-and-take-a-nap” type of tiredness.
So, what do you do when you are this tired? Most people would do just that – take a nap. No one would fault them for that. Yet, several recent studies show that the most effective antidote to fatigue is actually the lastthing someone wants to do.
I’m not talking about sweat-dripping, heavy-breathing, cramp-inducing type of exercise. Let’s face it, only a few people in the world actually think that is fun. I’m talking more about a quick walk around the block. Or maybe even just to your mailbox. Or, walk around the downstairs of your house. This is exactly what my grandfather did. Every hour, on the hour, he would get up, and walk one lap around his house. Then he would go back to bed.
To the outside world, it didn’t look like much.
But that one lap did wonders for my grandfather.
It gave him something to look forward to. When he finished, it gave him a sense of accomplishment. It boosted his energy levels, which in turn boosted his mood. It was one positive step he could make in his recovery.
You see, my grandfather didn’t have any control over the fact that he got cancer.
But he could control this!
The Bible has a lot to say on the subject of physical fitness. Our bodies are gifts from God, and they are incredibly designed (Psalm 139:13-15). As believers, we know that our bodies serve as the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and we are commanded by God to take care of ourselves. Physical training is even recognized as good (1 Timothy 4:8).
Supporting this are decades of research that illustrate the numerous health benefits associated with exercise.
Why, then, is it so hard for so many people to consistently exercise?
On average, more than 85% of people are sedentary at the time of their cancer diagnosis. This doesn’t mean to imply that if you exercise, you won’t get cancer. If this were true, my grandfather would have never become sick. However, 85% of the time, someone was not exercising before they got cancer.
And, as you can imagine, one of the most difficult things to do when you are sick is begin an exercise program!
But…what if you did?
What if you put your hope in the Lord, and allowed Him to renew your strength (Isaiah 40:31)? What if you ran with perseverance, this race marked out for you (Hebrews 12:1)?
What if you made an intentional effort to push through all the fear and doubt and force yourself to move your body more.
Ask God to help you.
Start right where you are. If all you are able to do is walk around the downstairs of your house, then start with that.
If you have a pedometer or wearable fitness tracker, simply set a goal to walk 500 more steps today than you did yesterday!
Give yourself just 10 minutes before you allow yourself to stop.
Seriously! Try it and see what happens!
The hardest part is getting started.
But you totally got this!