26 Apr 3 Keys to Body Health for Leaders
As leaders, we take time to invest in what we see as important. If it isn’t important to us, we simply move on. Unfortunately, many of us have neglected to care for our physical bodies over the years. For pastors, there is a prevailing sentiment that caring for the physical isn’t spiritual in nature. I would disagree with that line of thinking. One of the most important things that pastors can do is care for their bodies. It is that body that moves them forward in life and allows them to carry out the tasks that God has placed in front of them.
Perhaps you have decided that pursuing physical health is a part of your plan for reaching a more balanced life, but you don’t really know where to start. It’s like anything else in life. Small changes add up to big change.
I don’t claim to be an expert on physical fitness or nutrition, but I have discovered a few simple keys to keeping our bodies running the way that God intended
1. Feed Your Body Right.
I know that this seems simple, perhaps even too simple, but it is the starting point for making REAL change with your physical health. What you put into your mouth really does make a difference. Many of us aren’t drinking the right things. We love our sodas and other beverages, but how much sugar are we taking in with each glass? The simple thing to do is add water. It keeps our body functioning properly and we never have to worry about unwanted calories. One of the worst things about those beverages is the sugar. It sends our systems into a tail spin. Whether it is in a soda or the pie that your church member just brought you, we should watch out for the sweet goodness. When we sidestep the sugars, it will often lead us to a place of more whole foods. The processed and convenience foods of our local super markets do us very little good. They are essentially “Food-like” products. I won’t deny they taste good, but what are they doing to us over the long haul? I’m not saying that we must buy everything organic, but I am saying that getting Strawberry Filled Pop Tarts does not count as a serving of fruit. Avoid the center section of your local supermarket and your health will benefit.
2. Move Your Body More.
Today, many leaders are stationary. What do I mean? They are sitting in chairs and at desks for much of their day. They may be moving mountains with their decisions, but they rarely move their behinds. In a 2014 blog post from Huffpost Healthy Living (Sitting is the New Smoking), Dr. James Levine states that, ““Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.” If we hope to fight the curve, we must get up and move. If we want to live a healthier life, we must find ways to put our bodies into motion. I train in Taekwondo. I go mountain biking. I run. Those are all big things, but health comes when we choose the smaller movements in life as well. Take the stairs. Park farther from the front door. Take an evening stroll with that special someone. The idea is to just get moving.
3. Rest Your Body Enough.
One of the biggest mistakes that we make as leaders is to not get enough rest. We avoid the bed because are minds won’t stop racing and we simply want to get more done. Getting enough sleep is an intentional choice and is one that we must make. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults between the ages of 26-64 get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. How much sleep do you get each night? Getting the proper amount of sleep allows our bodies to recover and gives us the strength to accomplish all that lies before us. Pastors, if you struggle in this area, please remember that even Jesus had to stop and rest.
A healthy body can make you a better leader. Invest in your physical health today.