“I believe that God made me for a purpose ... but He also made me fast and when I run, I feel His pleasure.” From the movie Chariots of Fire- Eric Liddell

The faith and fitness connection is not an original concept -- since Deborah Pierce wrote ‘I Prayed Myself Thin’ in 1960, hundreds of best-sellers have hit the book-stores showing the connection between faith and fitness.

What is the connection for me?

I must admit that I’ve always believed in this concept but I have kept it a secret. My life up until now has been pretty compartmentalized; my faith has played a major role in my life yet it’s never intermingled with my work or other areas of my life.  I’ve never felt the ‘call’ to witness to other people and there has always been a fear in me of my ‘secret identity’ being found out. As God brings me to new levels in faith (and fitness) I am learning that the body, mind, and spirit connection is a package deal. You can’t successfully have one without the other.

As I go through this period of questioning God about my purpose, I am coming to understand that having physical health without spiritual health is like trying to drive a car without gas. The car might be efficient, powerful and beautiful, but it is useless without the power to make it work efficiently.  I am learning to focus on the spiritual impact and benefits that running and exercising provide -- the vainer benefits are wonderful but they are just becoming the icing on the cake.  Fitness, like everything else I do, calls me to higher levels of living and higher purposes— it brings glory to God.

What is the connection?

The phrase ‘body, mind and spirit’ has become one of the catch phrases of this generation but have you ever thought about what it really means to you.  It means that we are spiritual beings with a mind that thinks and reasons and we live in physical bodies.

Our minds house our thoughts and intellect which we nurture by learning, praying and meditating.  Our spirit is where we connect with God and our bodies are these vessels that we clothe and make up each day. They are all connected and work in harmony with each other and we should never neglect one in pursuit of the other.

A strong spiritual life allows us to overcome physical limitations; a sound mind can influence our spiritual and physical health and good physical health can lift our spirits and increase our effectiveness to others.

Clinical studies have demonstrated the importance of spiritual health in physical well-being.  Research shows that faith improves the immune system, enhances healing, reduces complications during major illnesses and much more. (1)

Many of us say that we don’t have faith, but the truth is that we all have faith in something. What we really mean is that we don’t have faith in God. Your faith permeates every aspect of your life-- your words, thoughts and actions.

Integrate faith into your fitness and watch your health, your outlook and even the lives of others around you improve. Live harmonically, live purposefully, live passionately!

For a wealth of information on the topic please go to: http://www.faithandhealthconnection.org/

For faith-based health programs go to http://www.activeimage.ca.

1.         http://www.faithandhealthconnection.org/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/the_faith_and_health_connection_cmda_standards_for_life1.pdf

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