Warren wanted to inspire his largely out-of-shape congregation to shift their unhealthy habits. The plan, which combines health and fitness with prayer, scripture, spiritual inspiration, and group support, has been remarkably successful.
Throughout North America and across many faiths, people are embracing the combination of body and spirit. In Annandale, Va. Online, websites like www. For many people, faith and healthy living go together naturally, each -providing support and inspiration for the other. Centuries of religious practices, rituals , and rules related to health, wellness, exercise, and diet back this idea, as do many branches of modern science.
The consensus: Spiritual beliefs may be among the most powerful — yet often overlooked — drivers of healthy behavior change that an individual or community can tap into.
Reproduction of material from this website without written permission, or unlicensed commercial use or monetization of National Catholic Register RSS feeds is strictly prohibited. Ascension Borgess, MI 3. His dramatic story caught Catholic media attention and led to Father Casey Jones, a Florida priest who was also fighting obesity, reaching out to him. Maintenance Mechanic, Full-Time. I am truly grateful for FaithFit.
At first glance, fitness and faith may seem an awkward pairing: Glutes and godliness. Biceps and the Bible.
The temporal and the eternal. Perhaps the best-recognized passage appears in 1 Corinthians in the New Testament: Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Many Jewish tenets hold movement, fitness, and strength in similarly high regard. Far from being wholly separate disciplines, spirituality and exercise have long been closely intertwined — perhaps since the birth of faith itself.
The takeaway from these ancient scriptures?
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The body is more than an earth-bound container for the soul. Leaving aside the vexing question of whether or not God exists, science has shown that spiritual beliefs of any kind are unquestionably good for you, bolstering your commitment to healthy living and lending your workouts a greater sense of purpose. Research has found, for example, that people who participate in religious activities are more likely to consume fruits and vegetables, less likely to abuse addictive substances, and less likely to commit suicide than people with no religious affiliation.
Unlike extrinsic motivation, in which a person is driven by desire to gain an external reward or to avoid some punishment, intrinsic motivation comes from within and is connected with our most deeply held values.
As a result, intrinsic values motivate us more powerfully and sustainably over time. For this reason, Larsen encourages health-seeking clients who have strong spiritual beliefs or practices to make a connection between their spiritual and physical values. But its benefits extend beyond that. This powerful combination of accountability and autonomy is further compounded when spiritually inclined people gather to make health a group effort. Because they call on the best in us and connect us in circles of shared values, spiritually bonded communities may have a real advantage in shifting previously entrenched behaviors.
To some people, faith and religion may seem like anachronisms — antiquated concepts with little bearing on our contemporary worldview.
Religiously speaking, this survey indicates that Americans are, for the most part, both diverse and tolerant. At the other end of the spectrum are fitness classes where teachers infuse exercise sessions with a spiritual flavor while avoiding explicit references to religion. For Reynolds, God inspires movement; for Sanford, movement inspires a gratitude that verges on the spiritual. But for all faith-fitness practitioners, from the devout to the agnostic, the relationship between the physical and the spiritual is symbiotic. Just as spiritual practices like studying inspiring texts and connecting with like-minded groups can encourage us to take better care of our bodies, physical movement has the power to invigorate and uplift our spirits.
Stress is reduced. More focus, better alignment, less mental noise, and an openness to learning all create a state that Larsen believes is more in line with our intended, spiritual path. Larsen believes that different forms of exercise even have the power to invoke specific spiritual lessons.
For many, yoga asanas, or postures, carry similar associations. Perhaps the most resonant feature of the faith-fitness connection is its capacity to bring meaning to movement, to locate good health and self-care practices in a larger and deeper life context. There is, of course, nothing wrong with exercising and eating healthfully simply to look better, to feel better, or to perform better in everyday life.
But for many, connecting healthy choices to spiritual values may provide both the meaning and the motivation required to make those changes stick. Take Chris Wilcox, a Washington, D. Even extreme interventions, including medically monitored diets and a gastric bypass, failed him. In he turned to a local healthy-living ministry that helped him find the tools, motivation, and support to swap unhealthy habits for better ones.
And Blessed Chiara Badano played tennis. They are in good company. As the fitness trend continues to grow — a new study by the U. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the number of Americans who now meet or exceed federal exercise guidelines has risen to nearly a quarter of the population — Catholics are helping folks to also exercise their faith as they work out.
Catholic SwoleCatholic. Catholic was started by Denverite Paul McDonald. Giving up his freshman-year party lifestyle led to his working out more seriously in the gym and discovering a passion for it.
Catholic started. Since the launch, it has expanded to include informational content and to build a supportive community that allows people to find faith-based fitness resources in their area. But we need to take care of both. Catholic aims to assist the faithful in doing just that by making a wealth of resources available, including a former Olympian who offers fitness training to mothers and a group that urges priests to get fit. Former Olympic skier and world champion winter triathlete Rebecca Dussault, 38, is a wife, mother of six, fitness coach and faithful Catholic.
Two years ago, Dussault and her family moved from her native Colorado to Idaho. Realizing that some could be intimidated by having an Olympic athlete as a trainer, Dussault said she strips away that fear by sharing her own physical battles. I won! And I still have 30 pounds on from this baby. There has to be joy in the journey. Quoting the early desert mother St. In Father Ryan Rooney weighed pounds. He had difficulty dressing and had trouble going down the stairs to celebrate Mass. A priest of the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts, he was just 29 years old and had only been ordained three years, but his ministry was in trouble due to his weight.
Through that I lost another pounds.