I hosted a podcast called Health Matters where I interviewed leading health experts. Stephanie Nickel is a freelance writer and editor, regular contributor to HopeStreamRadio, labor doula, and former personal trainer. Steph is eclectically-interested and eclectically involved.
Why are exercise and healthy eating important for Christian women?
“Healthy eating and exercise have so many benefits. We have more energy, we sleep better, we work more efficiently, we get things done more quickly. And whether you’re a Christian woman or not these things are really important.
“I know from the flip side of things that if you spend too much time worrying about your dress size or what the scale says or obsessing that you’re not getting enough exercise it can have negative effects.
“But there are so many positives that I just think it’s part of being a good steward of the body that God gave us.
“And while we’re here on earth we do things with our bodies. We know we need to go here and there, and we need to stay as healthy and strong as we can.
“Although we can’t ward off every disease that comes our way, if we exercise regularly our body, our immune system works better and can fend these things off.
“Most of us realize, especially when we get to be women of a certain age, that sleep doesn’t always come as well as maybe it did in the past and it’d be nice to know that if we exercise regularly (not right before bed) then we’ll sleep better and be awake more and fresh and ready to face the challenges of our day.
“Eating well is really the same thing because if we eat foods that weigh us down and make us feel slow and sluggish then we won’t be able to work as efficiently as we want to, our minds won’t be as sharp as they should be, and it’s really hard to get those things done that God has given us to do in a day if we’re not fueling our bodies in the way we should and keeping them moving like we ought to.
How can busy women find time to tend to their spiritual and physical health?
“That is a giant challenge. I could probably make a fortune if I could give you the one-size-fits-all answer.
“I heard a story where a teacher had commissioned his students with writing down every minute of every day what they did for an entire week. It would be tedious but it would be very doable.
“Then they looked at the list of priorities that they had made and then they compared it to the time they had spent on each different area during the week and realized it was flipped on its head. The things they said were most important actually got the least amount of attention and vice versa.
“So I think the first thing we need to do is realize we won’t ever find the time to do what’s important, we have to make it. We have to choose our priorities well and if, as Christians, we want to put the Lord first in ministry and family and those things that we say are important to us — prayer, Bible study, all of those things — then we’re going to have to schedule our day in such a way that that can happen.
“Because if we just get up and start running as soon as our feet hit the ground it’s likely that enough things will come to distract us that those things that we really do want to be most important in our life just won’t fit in our schedule.
“It’s important to maybe get up an hour early if you’re a morning person and can make that happen. Or stay up just a little longer after your family is all tucked in for the night and do those things which are important. Capture those moments during the day.
“We all have those little times during the day where we’re waiting in line or we’re on hold on the telephone or something like that where we can offer up even a brief prayer, where we can pray for the people around us instead of letting our minds race to the next 10 things we’ve got to do.
“It’s not easy to prioritize but I think it’s crucial if we’re going to fit everything into our schedule. There are only 24 hours in each day and there’s going to have to be some things that we let go of. It’s too easy to let go of those things that are truly important to us and thinking, ‘I’ll get around to that next week, or next month, or next year’. We have to make it happen today and let go of some of those things that we think are important but maybe they’re not quite as important as we deemed them to be.”
Stephanie challenged me to think of my priorities and make time for the things I valued most. I recognized the need to be deliberate with my limited time.
Although the podcast is no longer available, if you’d like a copy of any of the full interview transcript, please send me an email.
This has been an excerpt from the Health Matters Podcast, believing that prayer & Bible study are to the spirit what exercise and healthy eating are to the body.
Blessings on your journey to health.
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