Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Water aerobics just might  change my life.

Confession:  I hate to exercise.  I hate to sweat.  I hate the pain I feel after I exercise. 

So, I don't.

Another confession:  I'm facing 50 this year.  And I'm out of shape and overweight.  I feel like an old lady and I don't want to feel like an old lady.

Really, it all started with those TV commercials with the active, fit 60-somethings.  They are thin and healthy and running and biking and dancing.  I want to be like that in my 60's.  I want to be like that in my 50's.  Heck, I wanted to be like that in my 40's!  So maybe, in this case TV actually helped my physical fitness.  Because I just couldn't watch those commercials any more and not do something about it.

So, kicking and screaming, I dragged myself off to a gym.  I had a plan of at least doing some walking on a treadmill and maybe taking a class or two.  But of course, the trainers at the gym wanted to torture me on these medieval devices they call "weight equipment."  They glowingly talk about the benefits of strength training.  So I reluctantly resigned myself to the drudgery of working out on the weight equipment - grrrrr.

And then I tried a water aerobics class. 

It was fun.

I sweated, but didn't feel most of it 'cause I was in the water.  I felt some pain afterward, but it was the good, stretchy pain, not the 'my body telling me I did something it didn't like and now I'm going to really hurt' kind of pain.  I could do things in the water I couldn't do on dry land - I could actually do squats and lunges and all that stuff! got at better workout in the water! I actually And no one could see how bad I looked in my swimsuit, or how uncoordinated I am because most of me was under water.

And did I say it was fun?  I felt like a child again, playing in the water.  I could dance again, in the water.

Water aerobics just might change my life.  It's too early to tell, but I've exercised regularly for two weeks and I even went to workout today when it was -3 outside!  I may just have found a form of exercise I will stick with.

As fun as all this sounds, how, you ask, is this rumination on water aerobics the ramblings of a Jesus Freak?

Well, there's a couple of things that come to mind.

In the gospel lesson for this Sunday (Matthew 4:12-23) it starts out with Jesus moving to Capernaum and calling Peter, Andrew, James and John to follow.  It reminded me that a big part of the early disciples following Jesus was walking around with him  They traveled all over Galilee, Samaria and Judea.  I claim to follow a teacher who walked all the time, and yet I am rather sedentary.

In Genesis (chapter 1 and 2), God created all things, called them good and then gave humans the responsibility to care for God's good creation.   The more I read the Bible, the more I realize that God is very invested in creation, in the material stuff of this world, to the point of even becoming one of us through the birth of Jesus (incarnation).  As followers of Jesus, we need to care for every part of God's creation.  What we often forget is that our bodies are part of those good things God has created.  I have not been a very good steward in caring for the body that God has entrusted to me.

In 1 Corinthians 6:19, Paul calls our bodies "temples of the Holy Spirit."  (I know I am not using this verse exactly the way Paul meant it then.)  But really, the temple of the Holy Spirit that is my body needs a lot of renovations!  Paul goes on in verse 20 to say "honor the Lord with your bodies."  I am pretty sure we can include good nutritional habits and exercise as ways of caring for the temple and honoring the Lord!

Only time will tell if I stick to my new exercise regimen.  Only time will tell if my small changes in eating habits become larger changes.  But for now, I'm literally walking wet, enjoying it, and finding the energy to follow Jesus better.

It won't be the first time a little water changed my life!

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