How Exercise Shapes My Spiritual Health

How Exercise Shapes My Spiritual Health
Ben Marshall

I’m a big proponent of exercise. I purchase clothes just to get them sweaty.

In 1 Timothy 4:8 Paul says, “For the training of the body has a limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (HCSB). Then, why is it important to be physically healthy if these God-inspired words say “training of the body” has a limited benefit?

I believe there is a strong connection between physical health and spiritual health. They can’t be disconnected or polarized as opposites. The way we care for our bodies reveals how we care for our souls.

When I’m busy, my physical shape and health suffer. I’m prone to eat fast food, and I’m more likely to run toward drinks that will give me a caffeine jolt.

My spiritual health also suffers when my schedule is full. I’m more likely to listen to a Bible app, while I do something else than stop to read the Bible. I’m also less likely to stop and journal any spiritual growth insight or how God is working in my life at the time. Prayer. Well, I’m prone to skip that practice because it feels less productive than checking something off my list of tasks.

Do you ever feel like that?

Our physical and spiritual lives are connected.

Here are three things I do to stay physically healthy and in turn spiritually stronger.

1. Put it on the calendar.

When a workout appointment is created on my calendar, it is either completed or rescheduled. I put these appointments on my work calendar so my co-workers can see how serious I am about keeping them and to disclose that I have a prior commitment at that time.

Sometimes I need to reschedule my workout time. How does a calendar help with that?

Adjusting my schedule is a reminder that my physical health is important and needs a slot on my calendar.

Creating an appointment for your physical health turns fitness from something you talked about to part of your everyday routine.

2. Prepare in advance.

Some weeks I only have time for the gym in the early mornings. I used to go to bed with the intention of working out in the morning, but I wouldn’t set anything out the night before. Inevitably, when I woke I knew I’d have to gather my gear in the dark and instead of waking my wife, I’d roll over and go back to sleep.

The difference came when I started packing my bag and getting the coffee pot ready the night before. Then, I woke with more incentive! If you don’t prepare in advance, it is less likely you will actually do it. Preparation shows whether or not it’s a priority.

3. Do it.

Whatever physical health and fitness look like for you, just do it. We’re great at making excuses, but when it comes down to it, actions speak. I believe my spiritual health is tied to my physical health. This is my why. I want to be spiritually healthy, and my keystone habit of spiritual health begins with a discipline of physical health.

Determine what it looks like for you to be physically healthy. Does this mean taking up running again? What would you need to prepare for that? Do you need new running shoes and clothes? Maybe physical health means using your gym membership, or getting one for the first time. It could even include exercising at home. How will focusing on physical health impact your eating habits?

However you implement a physical-health habit into your life, it will require intentionality and sacrifice. Are you willing? I hope this encourages you to go for it!

Ben Marshall is a Pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Holland, Michigan. He oversees youth and young adults as well as serving as a campus pastor in a multi-site church. He is actively engaged in the social media platforms and website communication at Calvary. He is a blogger, guitar player, and sports enthusiast. Ben currently resides in Holland with his wife Connie and their daughter.

The above article, “How Exercise Shapes My Spiritual Health” was written by Ben Marshall. The article was excerpted from

The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”