Me with the lovely ladies from my church, St. Andrew’s, Oxford. We’ve just done the 5K Race for Life. I have lost 47 pounds since then!!
Michael Hyatt urges his readers to take up running. He says, “Just by beginning, you will feel your life begin to shift.” “Things shifting”–I heard that phrase a lot in Charismatic circles, things shifting in heavenly realms, due to our prayers or God’s sovereign will, a shift later evident on earth.
But, of course, things can also begin to shift due to our own actions, which can unleash a cascade of positive changes.
And rather to my own surprise, I’ve discovered in mid-life that getting more physically active is one of the best way to shift things in our lives, whether writers’ block, or the sluggishness which leads to messiness, weight gain, ill-health, and general malaise.
And so, once again, I am taking up running. I have tried running before, actually love how great it makes me feel, but give it up because I get into it too fast, and then exhaust myself. Not this time!! I am using this Christian Couch to 5K podcast, which I intend to follow by the letter.
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And how do I expect to see my life begin to shift?
Thinking back on the only physical challenges I successfully completed: the 5K Race for Life in Oxford, and a 7K in Hyde Park, London,
I will sleep solidly, and wake earlier and well-rested.
- My brain will be flooded with endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, powerful neurotransmitters which affect mood. I will feel more euphoric.
- This alertness and sense of well-being (and the good sleep) will lead to writing more, and better.
- The time and energy expended training will naturally lead to eating healthily, both for the energy to exercise, and through a natural desire not to sabotage myself.
- My metabolism will change through gaining more metabolically active muscle, thus burning more calories even when at rest; so, God willing, I should continue to lose weight.
- Spiritually, I really sense God on long walks.
- When I walk 3-4 miles a day, I use the rest of my time
- I will have more confidence for the other challenges of my life.
Enormous changes through the simple act of committing to the discipline of running. So much of our health, mental health and the outcome of our lives lies in our own hands; it makes me feel sad that I did not commit to vigorous exercise earlier.
Of course, as Charles Duhigg says in his fascinating The Power of Habit, exercise is just one of the “keystone habits” which change your life. Exercising discipline in any of these areas gradually helps you be disciplined in the others: paying off debt; early rising; healthful eating (and as Flylady says) running an orderly, organized house.
I’ve heard it said, “If you got the benefits of exercise in a pill, you’d do anything to get it.” Instead, it’s available free at the end of a three mile walk—particularly if it’s walked daily!