It is a well-documented fact that a complete fitness regime should touch on all the components that contribute to an optimal physical state. (1) Such a program would include placing a demand on the heart so as to improve its cardio-vascular and respiratory capacity, referred to as endurance, developing better balance, improving agility and flexibility, as well as building strength and power.
Research shows that the right exercise program will affect bone density (2) and brain function in more ways than one, (3) slowing down the aging process and even reversing damage to an aging brain. (4) As a result of our labors to get fit, we all hope to increase our metabolism, tone muscles, feel better, be healthy and enjoy life. (5) I would like to propose that in order to be healthy; we also need to consider two components which are often ignored in trying to achieve total well being. The first is that total fitness includes the ability to relax and release muscular tension intentionally. (7)
We are easily stressed out creatures and, given the great demands we place on ourselves in our fast paced strung out world, we tend to forget to just stop, “be still”, and “breathe”.
Therefore, intentionally including elements of relaxation and breathing in our fitness program is wise and beneficial. Secondly, I strongly believe that we need a spiritual dimension to our quest towards complete health; something which connects us to our creator, our designer, our God. Medical professionals will often see patients journey more smoothly through ailments when they have a strong faith. (6) We are forever seeking peace, happiness, contentment and purpose. It is natural for us to yearn for something to fill the void as we strive for fulfillment in a life full of challenges. This missing connection to our maker can be restored through the word of God which is filled with promises which give hope, peace and unconditional love. Meditating on these truths provides the power needed to transform our lives in the most amazing miraculous way. Healthy “healing” faith builds as we ponder God’s wonders. “Faith comes through hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ” Romans 10:17. We are meant to fill our minds with the Spirit which God so earnestly wishes to impart on us: the Spirit of God, the Spirit of truth, love and peace which Christ, by His love, made available to us. (8) This is healthy holy meditation as prescribed by God Himself. Hence…Selah.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly….” Colossians 3:16
(2) “After many decades of research investigating the association between bone biology, aging and outcomes of exercise interventions, this systematic review and meta-analysis of 19 studies supports the view that exercise of mixed loading impact is associated with significant increases in BMD (bone mineral density)” Exercise effects on bone mineral density in older adults, page 21.
Elisa A. Marques, Jorge Mota, and Joana Carvalho, 2012.
(3) “…there is growing evidence that both aerobic and resistance training are important for maintaining cognitive and brain health in old age.”
Journal of Applied Physiology, 2011
Exercise, brain, and cognition across the life span
Michelle W. Voss, Lindsay S. Nagamatsu and Arthur F. Kramer
(4) “Many of the new studies highlighted previously unexplored ways in which exercise changes our brains and minds. One of my favorites was a brain-scan study in which Japanese scientists found that the brains of fit older men were almost as efficient as the brains of young people.”
“Fit Body, Fit Brain and Other Fitness Trends” NewYork Times
Gretchen Reynolds December 23, 2015
(5) “This evidence provides direct support for the recent recommendation that resistance training and flexibility exercises be performed at least twice a week to maintain functional status, promote lifelong physical activity and enhance overall quality of life.”
Canadian Medical Association Journal
Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence
Darren E.R. Warburton, Crystal Whitney Nicol, Shannon S.D. Bredin
(6) “Each of these expressions of faith has long been and continues to be instrumental in the healing of medical patients wherever medicine and the other healing arts are practiced…exploring a faith-healing connection is imperative if we are ever to recognize, in full, the sources of comfort and meaning that enable suffering people to cope with and adapt to the challenges of illness and of life.” page 20
How Faith Heals: A Theoretical Model, Jeff Levin, PhD, MPH, 2009.
(7) “… white matter change involving the anterior cingulate cortex, a part of the brain network related to self-regulation, could provide a means for intervention to improve or prevent mental disorders.”
Mechanisms of white matter changes induced by meditation, 2012
Yi-Yuan Tanga, Qilin Lu, Ming Fan, Yihong Yang, and Michael I. Posner
(8) Logos – Believers Church Bible Commentary – Psalms
“Martin Luther referred to Selah as a sign that we are to think more deeply and at greater length what the words to which it is attached mean to say. He called Selah “a punctuation mark of the Holy Spirit. Whenever we find it in the Psalter, the Holy Spirit wants us to pause and ponder; there he wants to touch and enkindle our heart for particularly deep meditation” (Luther, 1956:37).
References: Craigie, 2004:76–77; Goulder: 103–5; Luther, 1956:37; Tate, 2004:410–11.