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Hallelujah for Health!
Fitness expert Leslie Sansone found tapping into her spirituality gave her that extra push she needed to get going
One of the main reasons people skip exercise is because it isnt a priority, says Leslie Sansone, walking expert and author of the new book Walking the Walk. But, she adds, when you make the connection that your body is a gift from God, then honoring your body with exercise becomes a way to thank God. Read on for some walking workouts that will fill you with inspiration.
1. Feel the Spirit in Small Bursts On especially hectic days, theres no need to force 30 minutes out of your schedule for exercise, says Sansone. Instead, look for activity opportunities right in your day and think of them as prayer breaks. Heres an example of how you can easily accumulate 30 minutes during a busy day.
Start and end each session with a couple minutes of easy walking (where you have enough breath to sing), to warm up and cool down.
10 minutes in the morning: When you go out for your newspaper in the morning, dont stop moving. Walk for a few blocks for 10 minutes. Wake up with the following verse: Let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth. John 3:18
10 minutes midday: At lunchtime, before you head down to your work cafeteria, walk around the building a couple of times, or plan to walk to a local deli for a healthy salad. Include an affirmation such as, My body is my temple. When I honor my body, I honor God.
10 minutes at night: Make after-dinner walks a family tradition. Once the dishes are cleaned up, take a stroll to a nearby park to watch the sun set. Say this mini prayer together or to yourself: Thank you, God, for the gift of a healthy life and a body that has the ability to move. I promise not to waste it.
2. Take a Gratitude Walk Walking always helps reduce stress, but you can take healthy thinking one step further by focusing on all the things you are thankful for in your life. Take time during each walk to thank God for the gift of life and the ability to move, no matter what your weight or fitness goals, suggests Sansone.
What Youll Need: A treadmill, walking path or your local neighborhood streets.
5 minutes: Easy walk. 5 to 10 minutes: Walk at a moderate pace (youre moving faster than normal but not pushing yourself). Think of all the things youre thankful for today. For example: the weather, your family, your good health, that you are taking care of yourself and so on.
10 to 20 minutes: Walk at a brisk pace (youre walking as if youre in a really big rush). Think back to the happiest times in your life. Once you have three or four happy memories, think about what they had in common. Send out a prayer of blessing for those happy moments.
20 to 25 minutes: Walk at a moderate pace. Send a silent prayer giving thanks for all the people in your life and for those less fortunate than you.
25 to 30 minutes: Walk at an easy pace.
3. Get Moving With the Gospel Probably the number-one thing I love during a walk is faith music, says Sansone. Any upbeat music can keep you on track and motivated, but gospel music will also fill you full of Gods spirit and joy.
What Youll Need: Your favorite gospel or spiritual music (see box at right for suggestions) and a portable music player. If the weather is crummy, crank up your stereo and do your routine indoors: Try walking in place, lifting your knees high, stepping side-to-side or doing small leg kicks. It all counts as exercise!
5 minutes: Easy walk.
5 to 15 minutes: Moderate walk. Choose a song with a faster tempo to get your blood pumping.
15 to 25 minutes: Play your fastest and most emotional spirituals. The beat and words will get you moving vigorously.
25 to 30 minutes: Easy walk.