Summer Shape Up #3: Lifting!

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When we get to heaven and try to explain to all of our new friends, from every age around the globe, how we spent our days here typingon earth, I have an idea they might be confused.  “Wait.  Explain that again.  You spent the day in a little cubicle moving your fingers around, and you called it ‘Work’?  Is that right?”  “Well,” we might say, “We called it a ‘career station,’ but, yeah, that’s pretty much it.”

Except for early childhood teachers and camp directors, I don’t know too many professional church workers who have a lot of physical effort connected with their jobs.  Okay, the pastor of a mission-start who sets up tables and chairs a few times a week might qualify.

Most of us are not fully utilizing these amazing bodies that God designed for strenuous, physical labor to the extent of keeping them fit, toned and at top capacity.  Read on for my top reasons for strength training and a couple of quick tips.I’ve made strength training a part of my life on and off since high school, but got more serious and intentional about 6 years ago.  Here are the primary benefits of better muscle tone Jack_Lalannethat I really enjoy: better posture; hit the golf ball farther (much farther); bulging disc in back rarely acts up anymore; clothes fit better; fewer aches and pains; I feel more self-confident and positive about stewardship of my self.  Women also enjoy the benefit of staving off osteoporosis.

I got a kick start on my workouts when my son was getting in shape for his wedding and invited me to join him in one of those cable TV workout video programs.  I still use it.  Here’s what I’ve learned.

  1. Know your limits.  Go easy.  I do lots of repetitions with lower weight than when I was younger.  My heaviest dumbbells are 25 lbs.  I do all the push-ups from my knees (bad back; see above).  Ease into it very slowly.  You can get plenty of exercise with 3 or 5 lbs., then slowly increase it.
  2. Muscle confusion is important.  The videos I used to learn the workouts use dozens of different exercises: 20 kinds of pushups, 16 kinds of curls, etc.  If you do exactly the same exercise over and over, some muscles get neglected.  Go to the internet and find lots of ways of doing lots of different movements.
  3. Balance.  Be sure to hit all the major muscle groups: chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, abdominal core, legs, etc.  Do a little something for every part of the body, rotating each day.
  4. Recovery time. Muscles that have gotten a good workout need 48 hours to rebuild and dumbbellsrestore before the next workout.
  5. Stretch.  If you haven’t lifted weights before, you need a stretching program and it’s a great way to begin.  If you’re a fitness nut, you need a stretching program too, so we all need to stretch more.  It increases resilience, eases aches, speeds recovery and helps posture and balance.
  6. Get some coaching.  If you’re serious about enjoying the benefits of strength training, join a gym for a few months to learn the basics and to reduce the chance of injury.

What’s your routine?  I’d love to hear about it.  Now, drop and give me twenty!

Thanks for reading!

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