Many of the world’s deadliest diseases and conditions, including heart disease, obesity and Type II diabetes, are caused by the lifestyle decisions we make. Numerous studies have shown that smoking, for instance, causes everything from lung cancer, right through to heart disease, stroke, asthma, blindness, diabetes and over 10 types of cancer.
There are other immediately obvious ways we can seriously reduce our lifespan or increase the chances of developing a disease that curtails our long-term health and wellbeing. These include consuming excessive amounts of alcohol and taking illicit substances. However, we can also let our body down in far more subtle ways – by consuming an unhealthy diet, for instance, and allowing the pounds to pile on. Even leading a sedentary lifestyle can increase the likelihood of heart disease, stroke and other conditions. “Sitting is the new smoking” and simply spending too many hours before a computer or sitting on a couch while using technological devices, hampers our health – both in the short and long term.
The Bible has plenty to say when it comes to the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle. Perhaps the best known passage is that of 1 Corinthinas 6:19-20, which states: “19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” By taking care of our own health, we are honouring God and thanking him for giving us life. Indulging in harmful habits, or neglecting our bodies by failing to exercise or rest when we need to, is akin to being ungrateful.
Another passage in 1 Corinthians 10:31 stipulates: “31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” This passage is particularly useful for those who are tempted to indulge in unhealthy habits – including overeating or undereating, as occurs in many eating disorders. Knowing that each of our actions are carried out for the glory of God, we can feel more motivated to make important changes in our lives, including those with benefit to our health.
It is ultimately up to each of us to look within ourselves and identify aspects of our lifestyle that we can change for the better. Internet addiction is a big thing these days, not only for little children, but also for their parents, who spend numerous hours daily surfing the Internet or ‘connecting’ with others via social media. We need to question the extent to which our obsession with technology is affecting our physical and mental health – do we claim not to have enough time to work out or enjoy a healthy walk in natural surroundings, yet spend over an hour a day on the Internet? Have we put on weight in the past few months? What changes to our daily routine are necessary to change problems such as excess weight or a low fitness level?
It is important to start slowly and to set realistic goals. Those who have not exercised for years, for instance, should perhaps refrain from starting out with a demanding workout such as CrossFit – rather, they may opt for something gentler, like yoga, which can be adapted to all fitness levels and ages. Even a brisk walk every day (aim for half an hour and work your way up to an hour) does wonders for the heart and helps burn calories. When you set achievable goals, you are much more likely to achieve them.
With respect to nutrition, it is important to feed the body with whole, organic, unprocessed/unrefined foods whenever possible. Acts 27:34 says, “34 Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” The quality of the food you purchase is important. Conventionally crops often contain pesticides and herbicides – some even contain heavy metals. To keep body, mind and spirit pure, ensure that the food you eat is of the very best quality possible. Organic food isn’t always expensive – as the demand for healthy food grows, more stores and farms are offering delicious, nutritious produce at affordable prices.
Exodus 15:26 contains a powerful passage- “I am the Lord, who heals you.” Rely on the strength of God when you are tempted and remember that in addition to pleasing God, by leading a healthy lifestyle, you will also increase your chances of leading a longer, happier life.
This is an article sent in by Sally Painthorpe