I believe God wants me to be the best steward of my physical body that I can be. I believe taking good care of my body is a responsibility that comes along with the gift of life God has given me.


I haven’t always felt this way. When I was in high school, my asthma was bad and I looked like I was walking around the track at school when I was trying to run it! That was embarrassing. Later, in my twenties, I dieted with my co-workers, but I didn’t exercise. It wasn’t until 1985, when I was 33 and overweight that I began exercising.


I began by walking. I wanted to measure my walking and didn’t have a pedometer, so I walked around a nearby 3-mile lake.  I gave myself permission to take as long as I needed, with as many rest periods as I needed. That’s how it all began for me.


Walking was an easy way for me to begin exercising, and it has been a convenient and relaxing time to pray. Lap swimming is another type of exercise that makes it easy to for me pray at the same time.   I’ve also found that biking is a good time for me to pray, depending on where I’m biking.


I’m not the only person to pray during exercise. In the September 2003 issue of the magazine,Organic Style, the Art of Living in the Balance, there was an article about a 77-year-old Catholic nun, named Sister Madonna, who endorses running and praying. She says that it’s never too late to begin exercising (but check with your doctor first). She also says, “Don’t go it alone.” And, I’ll have to admit that having an exercise partner makes exercise a lot easier.


An extra bonus that comes with taking a walk outside is the freedom to enjoy the Nature. Nature is another gift from God.


At one time, when having daily pain in my shoulder, I experienced pain relief after really difficult aerobic exercise classes. For me, exercise is an anti-depressant. I appreciate that I can go outdoors for a walk no matter what I’m wearing – even my Sunday best! Yes, I do change my shoes! When in Oregon, I enjoy the lush green outside my door; here in California, I am becoming fond of the green hills in winter that turn a beautiful gold. I feel blessed here because everyone is so friendly, neighbors and merchants alike. It adds a warm and fuzzy feeling for me to say ‘Hi!’ to everyone who crosses my path. And, my friendliness seems to create a network of caring that motivates me to go out walking again and again.

—Barbara Reynolds