The Spirituality of Exercise

 In about November last year I started road running. If all goes as hoped I will be running my first half-marathon on Saturday the 1st of May. Which will be pretty sweet. This is another weekly,simple and enjoyable thing which I do and so many of us do in various forms. In the pocess of running I have awakend to (or have been awakened by, I am not sure which one) the spirituality of it. I did not try to hard to force a 'spirituality of running', but rather while I was running I just tried to be attentive to my body and to my thoughts and trusted there was something to be found in running. 

 The first thing that struck me about running was breathing. With running you feel the stale, indoor air leaving your lungs with every breath out and you feel fresh, clean (especially in the morning) air filling you lungs with every breath in. Could we see our excercise in this way? Could our excercise be a prayer for all that is stale and old and stuffy in our lives to be breathed out from within us and all that is good,clean,lifegiving and fresh be breathed in? Could our beads of sweat be us acknowledging that the process of God forming us to be the people we were always made to be is not easy. That the process of formation and purification and growing in love could well cause us to 'sweat'! Could our excercise be us realising that in the same way as our stamina grows through excercise so does our 'stamina' for love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self control grow through excercising them? Could the sense of wellbeing and health one feels after excercising be our prayer for each other and ourselves, that we would all experience this wellbeing in our bodies, families, communities and country? The key conviction of these posts is that you don't need to do anythiong new to grow in your spirituality, just see what you are already doing in a new light...  

Whether running, cycling, gymming, walking, canoing, hiking or whatever you do, are you open to the possibility that these simple, everyday activities that you know and enjoy could be way's in which God is shaping and forming your spirituality? Perhaps next time you are excercising and you feel the stale air breathing out, ask that God would allow that which is stuffy and stale would leave your life creating space for you to breathe in the fresh clean air to give you life and vitality.   

A Prayer for (Renewing) Exercise  


 With this breath out, may I breathe out all that is stale and old and stuffy in my life and  
 With this breath in, may I breath in your Life and health and vitality God. 
 With these drops of sweat let me remember the road to wholeness is often not an easy one  
 but one that is worth every drop of sweat.  
God fill not only my body with wellness but  fill all our bodies,and our families and our world with a sense of your wellness and peace.