by Rev. Jim Person
If you have a gym membership with 24/7 access to a plethora of equipment and a myriad of exercise options for every muscle in your body, consider yourself blessed, (and cursed). Or if, like me, you have a home gym in your garage, and/or basement, and/or church and a bunch of equipment acquired over the years, consider yourself blessed, (and cursed).
Like many things in life, our options for health and fitness are what we make of them. For instance, if you have access to all sorts of options you are blessed to have choices as to which ones you choose. You may do dozens of exercises per body part, or you may choose only a few movements that work the whole body at once. You can choose to exercise for hours on end, or just a few minutes a week. You can work out any time as it fits your schedule and energy level. All those options would seem to be a blessing to anyone who wants to improve their health and fitness.
On the other hand, we can become stymied by having an overwhelming number of things to choose from. What will I do? When will (can) I do it? Where do I feel comfortable? What do I need most? The host of choices can lead to decision fatigue in which the mind becomes fatigued after a sustained period of decision making. We get worn out from trying to decide what activity to do. Eventually the couch, TV, and refrigerator seem like the best opportunities. It doesn’t help our health and fitness but it might take our minds off the decision making for a while.
The blessing of not having so many options is, of course, less likelihood of decision fatigue. Pushups, squats, planks, and a few other calisthenics are what you must choose from, and this can be a good thing. Instead of deciding what to do you simply do what you can when you can. Some very healthy individuals with admirable physiques have used nothing but bodyweight exercise and some type of aerobics, along with sensible nutrition, to get and remain in good health.
Another blessing-curse paradox lies in the overwhelming amount of information (and misinformation) available from books, the internet, physicians, and well-meaning friends. They provide a nearly endless variety of advice on how to reach our goals. They are even quick to tell us what our goals should be. Perhaps the best approach is to first decide if you want to make changes and why. Medical professionals are a better starting point than supermarket tabloids. Make decisions for you, not for anyone else. How do you feel? Are you healthy? (Health has been defined as the optimal interplay of the organs. If your organs play well together, you may be OK).
Blessings and curses are largely dependent upon what we make of our situation. Choose whatever brings you closest to being who God is calling you to be.