The Bible as a lot to say about exercise. Unfortunately for our weight loss efforts, the Greek words translated as “exercise” have nothing to do with working out. The Bible talks about exercising kindness and authority, but has little to say on the subjects of weight lifting and lunges. Mostly we get are metaphors to “run the race” set out for us (Hebrews 12:1) and not to run or box aimlessly but to try to win the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24-36).
There is one reference to literal working out. The word “gymnasia” in Greek is used in Timothy 4:8 where we’re told that “physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come”. There we have it, folks, the biblical endorsement of physical exercise, a motto for Christian fitness instructors everywhere: physical training is of “some value”. It’s not exactly poster worthy motivation. But lucky for us, the Bible was not written to help us lose weight, but to point us to eternal things that are way more important than our physical bodies.
While I can’t memorize verses about “feeling the burn”, I do get encouragement to exercise from looking at creation, both the creation account in Genesis and my created body. Our bodies were clearly designed to move, i.e. to exercise. Adam and Eve were tasked with gardening and animal husbandry, both of which require physical effort. Our body benefits when we exercise and suffers when we don’t. Exercise helps regulate our hormones and blood sugar, and keeps our circulatory, excretory and respiratory systems in tip top shape.
Exercise doesn’t have to involve hours of sweat or debilitatingly sore muscles, it just has to get your blood pumping and your muscles moving. Every little bit of exercise adds up and adds benefit, even as little as two minutes.
My favorite verse for exercise is Job 39:13 because I, like the ostrich, do not look graceful when I exercise, but I flap joyfully!
What motivates you to exercise?