“Bodily exercise profits” (1 Timothy 4:8).
But to be transparent, I like the profits more than I enjoy doing the exercise. However, the benefits of regular cardio are fantastic.
Still, I’m not motivated some days, and some seasons I lose all motivation. And, I’m not a big fan of large fitness gyms with large groups of people. So I typically go outside for exercise and recreation.
If that’s not your routine, perhaps these basic factors for outside cardio can help you get ready to enjoy the great outdoors again.
As I share, I’ll write in the plural because my workout partner is my wife. Lisa and I have learned these together.
1. The Weather.
It probably seems like a no-brainer. But you can’t let the weather tell you whether or not you will exercise. You eventually get conditioned well enough to exercise in the elements, regardless of the temperature.
In our coastal climate, hot and moist is the usual air quality. So during the hottest months of the year, we like to be out before dawn. That’s because we can finish up as the sun is fully rising and heating the air even more.
In the coldest months, our start time depends more on the temperature. But we don’t usually let the cold stop us from getting a quick jog. It’s all about proper attire. And 40° to 50° (F) air is much easier on our lungs. So even if a jog starts cool, we know in 10 to 15 minutes, it won’t be as much of a factor.
We’ve even found that light rain is fun to jog in because it keeps us from overheating in the summer, and we tend to breathe a little better.
Exercising outside in the weather gives you a greater appreciation for God’s Creation, the changing seasons, and the sounds of life.
2. The Sounds.
Thinking about the sounds leads us to this tip for working out with a partner. We share a pair of Airpods for the workout and use an app to track our pace and time. That means she has the right, and I have the left Airpod (or vice-versa). But since we’re outside, we must be aware of safety, so we each have one ear free to hear.
But this is also about the music and the beats per minute. Thankfully we’ve learned to appreciate (sometimes tolerate) each other’s music preferences. Our playlist features positive and upbeat music that keeps us moving. Most days, it’ll be Contemporary Christian. But then there are some days when I like to change it up with some feel-good R&B.
I’ll listen to leadership podcasts if we’re in a gym and enduring machine-based workouts.
The right sounds can help you push through and get the workout your body deserves and your mind needs to relieve stress.
3. The Conversations.
Thinking about the mind and how sounds affect it brings us to conversations before we work out. Lisa and I have learned that there’s rarely a day when we wake up with a simultaneous great motivation to get our workout on. So we use caution in conversation with each other. We do our best to not say something negative or give voice to a “woe is me, I need more coffee” attitude. We could inadvertently talk ourselves out of the exercise we need.
But what about the conversations we have during the workout? Frankly, I’m not usually in good enough shape to carry on a conversation while actively jogging. So during the pace, we usually only verbally communicate directional cues like turn here, go straight, one more lap, or two more minutes.
Self-talk is the most important conversation we have during the workout. We can not constantly dwell upon the negatives. Sure, when you first get started, something will feel different. And since we’re talking about cardio, breathing will be hard for beginners too.
I (William) have to be conscious and take my mind captive during my exercise self-talk. I will often pray and thank God for the strength to keep going, a desire to take care of my body, and His grace that sets me free to run the race of faith. Sometimes I’ll work on meditating and memorizing a Scripture verse or two. And if I’m already far along enough in sermon preparation, I can recite the outline to myself or rehearse some of the content during the jog. I might ask the Holy Spirit to breathe in me with fresh creativity and give me new thoughts about the passage or theme I haven’t seen before.
If I’m physically struggling and there’s no denying it, I’ll ask God for a slight breeze on my back. I might even repeat this mantra for a minute: “the legs, the lungs, the head, and the heart; it’s all working together.” Or I might remind myself, “I don’t have to be fast; I just have to be moving.”
Don’t you dare self-talk yourself into quitting! Accept that some work is involved in working out, so encourage yourself with kind thoughts.
That’s just a few basic factors and insight into how we make the best of our cardio workouts. You can rest assured after the workout that the benefits are worth the work!
We like the exercise high. And since I’m a pastor, I like that regular cardio gives me plenty of breath in my lungs for preaching. Good feelings come post-cardio, and it makes you just plain glad that you did it.
Hey! What are you doing inside? Why don’t you get out and get moving?! Walking is a great way to get started, so get on out there.
Christian, you owe it to the Lord to care for your body. Until you accept that “bodily exercise profits,” you’ll keep making inferior excuses instead of intentional progress.
So, the best encouragement I can give you for a better quality of life in the present and the hope of a good quality of senior living is to start moving and keep moving.
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