When January first rolls around, it's pretty common for the membership roles at fitness facilities and diet groups to spike. And while the common motivations of improved fitness and/or weight loss are valid, the steady decline by February or March in attendance at gyms or weight loss centers indicate that something more is needed to stay the course. It doesn't take long for busy schedules or cold, rainy days to take the edge of what was once a firm goal. Experts say that there are two keys to effectively starting and maintaining a new fitness or diet regiment. First you must have a specific reason or motivation for the desired change. Second, you need a support system, others to come along side and encourage you.
I read recently a list prepared by physicians of benefits from a consistent running or walking program: lower blood pressure, delay of age-related disabilities by almost two decades, consistent runners are 7 times less likely to require knee replacement, reduced likelihood of cancer, fewer neurological problems, stronger bones, less likelihood of blood clots and varicose veins, improved sleep and reduced stress. And the benefits aren't just physical - recent studies have shown that consistent exercise helps regenerate brain function, increased cell growth in the part of the brain that deals with memory and depression and long term maintenance of cognitive function during aging. How's that for some specific motivators?
The support system is where the Calvary Running Team comes in. When we get together each week, we encourage one another and we provide accountability. It's so much easier to run in the rain if you're not alone and it's easier to stay consistent when you know others are waiting for you to join them and will miss you if you don't show up.
Another common practice of Christians around this time of year is to set a goal to read the Bible regularly. Like fitness goals, Bible reading often gets pushed aside by busy schedules or a lack of motivation. Here are 6 benefits of regularly reading the Bible from Kelly Stickel:
It gives the power to overcome sin. "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." (Psalm 119:11);
It gives direction and clarity for your future. "Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.";
It is a weapon against temptation. "The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written; 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" (Matt. 4:3-4);
It brings freedom from hurts, habits and hangups. "So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." (John 8:31-32);
It will lead you to prosperity and success. "This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success." (Joshua 1:8);
It will lead you to salvation and show you how to live God's way. "There's nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another - showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us." 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
If you would like to start the year by setting and maintaining some new goals, both physical and spiritual, we would love to have you join the CRT. You can begin by joining us for the First Run, January 1st, 2016. This is a 5k or 10k run/walk beginning and ending at the Valley River Inn. Sign up online at http://level32racing.com/First_Run.html. Our training schedule will be abbreviated this week due to New Years and the race but we will still meet twice. On Saturday we will meet at 9 am at Weyerhaueser Road (Bob Straub Parkway and 57th Street) and on Sunday we will meet at 3 pm at Dorris Ranch.
Have a great week!