Throughout the course of a normal workday, hardly a patient visit will go by that I don’t recommend either a healthy diet or exercise or both. Regular exercise and proper nutrition will go a long way in treating many ailments and preventing dis-ease. “Prevention” is rightly becoming more and more the focus of healthcare, for the healthy functioning body is truly an amazing thing. As designed by God, it tends to thrive when experiencing regular cycles of stimuli and rest. Yet too much of either one will cause an unhealthy imbalance.
The human body must be challenged to thrive. There are many challenges (stimuli; “good stress”) that the body may encounter, such as immunizations and exposure to germs (provokes the immune system) and blood donations (provokes the bone marrow to produce more blood cells). The most basic challenge that can stimulate the body to further good health is exercise. Exercise challenges the cardiovascular system, the pulmonary system, and the musculoskeletal system. There are also reports that exercise benefits the brain (promotes brain activity and delays brain aging) and the immune system. Regular exercise often promotes an overall sense of physical well-being, increasing energy, aiding weight loss, and enhancing sleep. And, regular exercise promotes “insulin sensitivity” throughout the body, helping to combat the chronic metabolic diseases of modern society associated with the metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, heart disease, strokes).
Regular exercise is beneficial in many ways; yet, too much exercise without regular rest will break down the body. Over-exercise/over-stress can tear down the musculoskeletal system (strains, tendonitis, shin splints, etc) and the immune system (lower resistance). Therefore, regular exercise must be interspersed with regular cycles of rest/recuperation/nurturing. Quality sleep is obviously a cornerstone. Non-sleep relaxation and recreation also helps to re-build the challenged body and restore the mind. Also essential to vitality, the body requires the nurturing of healthy nutrition to replenish and recharge. A healthy spiritual life in Christ also restores the soul and body, as mentioned in Isaiah 40:31: “But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
The human body must be regularly stimulated and restored to be healthy and vibrant. Too much exercise without restoration will lead to breakdowns and malfunctions. Too much rest/nutrition will cause weakness and fatness. Just as a healthy spiritual life will require both the Spirit of God and the Word of God, proper balance is the key.