Exercise is vital to a healthy mind and body. “If physical exercise were combined with mental exertion, the blood would be quickened in its circulation, the action of the heart would be more perfect, impure matter would be thrown off, and new life and vigor would be experienced in every part of the body.” Testimony Studies on Diet and Foods, 163.
If exercise is so vital to a healthy mind and body we need to learn to exercise. True exercise uses all the major muscles of the body, quickens the heart beat, increases the volume of air brought in by the lungs, and increases and improves the circulation of blood through the body. Exercise should be sustained for at least 15 to 20 minutes per session, and a little longer if the goal is weight loss. Use breathing as a guide to regulate exercise intensity. If it is possible to sing while exercising there is not enough exertion on the body; however, if breathing becomes strained it could be that the body is overexerting. With a healthy level of intensity it should be possible to talk more or less easily while exercising.
“Many who are very feeble can walk if they only think so. … Try to exercise moderately at first. Have rules to govern you. Walk! Yes, walk! If you possibly can, walk! Try it a short distance at first, you who think walking is impossible. You will no doubt become weary. … Your limbs may feel weak. And no wonder when you have not used them much more than as if you had no limbs.” Daughters of God, 171.
“A conservative approach to exercise would recommend that a person over 30 years of age, with a history of heart problems, high blood pressure, and weight issues, should have a physical checkup before beginning a strenuous exercise program. However, Ellen White advocates a liberal approach to exercise, meaning that if a person shows no obvious negative symptoms of the condition, it is healthy to start exercising.
There are many good ways to exercise, but we are counseled, “Walking, in all cases where it is possible, is the best exercise, because in walking, all the muscles are brought into action.” The Health Reformer, July 1, 1872. We are further instructed, “When the weather will permit, those who are engaged in sedentary occupations, should, if possible, walk out in the open air every day, summer and winter. The clothing should be suitable, and the feet well protected. Walking is often more beneficial to health than all the medicine that can be prescribed.” Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 100, 101.
Finally note this: “Morning exercise, in walking in the free, invigorating air of heaven, or cultivating flowers, small fruits, and vegetables, is necessary to a healthful circulation of the blood. It is the surest safeguard against colds, coughs, congestions of the brain and lungs, inflammation of the liver, the kidneys, and the lungs, and a hundred other diseases.” Healthful Living, 130, 131.
With this in mind we should all begin a healthy exercise program that can be incorporated into daily life. Make a firm decision to achieve the countless benefits which a healthy exercise routine will make possible. Then, determine by God’s grace, to begin and continue with an exercise program that will improve your mental, physical, and spiritual health.