The Miracle You Can Have Every Day: Making Exercise Yours

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"I hate exercise like I hate okra. And that's a lot," she commented. Nancy Franson was reading one of the posts in our exercise series and finding herself in a quandary. Exercise is obviously good for what ails us, but it's not always easy to begin.

Conversely, some of us like to exercise, but we've faced setbacks. For me, this came in the form of a hospitalization and six weeks of immobility, just this past Fall. I'd been in really good shape. I'd been running and I'd started ballet. But when the six weeks of muscle-attacking illness was over, I felt finished. I tried to go back to ballet and seemed to be getting weaker instead of stronger. Then I started injuring myself. When I couldn't sit cross-legged on the floor anymore, I decided I had to quit and simply focus on stretching and rehabilitation. I am still only a shadow of what I was fitness-wise, and some days this gets me down.

We each need to exercise, regardless of our setbacks and challenges, our motivation or lack of it. I say this because I'm convinced that exercise is our birthright. I believe it's not so much a cure for learning problems, stress, depression, anxiety, ADHD, addiction, and premature aging as it is a natural state without which we develop a host of problems.

John Medina, author of Brain Rules, notes that people used to walk about 12 miles a day, as a normal part of life. But what do our normal lives look like?

For best results—to be learning, growing, happy, youthful—we need to be engaged in a range of exercise from aerobic, to balance-building, to strength-building. John Ratey, author of Spark, makes a number of recommendations in his book, that add up to at least five or six days a week of varied movement. (The historical concept of Sabbath makes so much sense in this context.)

Yet. Many of our contexts encourage stasis. It is time to ask: How can we make exercise an ordinary blessing that is a natural part of home, work, and school? How can we get moving and take hold of the miracle that can be ours every day?

Share Your Journey

What's your story with exercise? What would you like it to be? Do you have a plan? Post your thoughts by Wednesday, June 29, and link back to us (we like that smile. Drop your post link in the comment box here or on our Wall on Facebook and we'll promote your posts via Facebook and Twitter. If we read an especially good story, we might feature it here at The High Calling.


Read Part One? The Miracle You Can Have Every Day: Exercise, Learning, and the Brain

Read Part Two? The Miracle You Can Have Every Day: Exercise, Anxiety, and the Brain
Read Part Three? The Miracle You Can Have Every Day: Exercise, Depression, and the Brain
Read Part Four? The Miracle You Can Have Every Day: Exercise, ADHD, and the Brain

Read Part Five? The Miracle You Can Have Every Day: Exercise, Addiction, and the Brain

Read Part Six? The Miracle You Can Have Every Day: Exercise, Aging, and the Brain

Image by Esther Schwarz. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr. Chair video is by The High Calling Member Bob Gorinski. Post by L.L. Barkat, author of God in the Yard: Spiritual Practice for the Rest of Us.

“Most of the material on The High Calling is available for reuse under a Creative Commons 3.0 license. Unfortunately, work by Laura Barkat is not available for reuse. If you are interested in reprinting work by Laura Barkat, please contact her directly.”