This article appeared originally in the March 2012 Levitt Letter.
You who love the Jewish people owe yourself a visit to your local Jewish Community Center* (The J). Then you’ll want to consider joining at least their sports & fitness program. Let me explain.
To begin with, your body is the temple of God (1 Cor. 6:19). Good stewardship mandates that we Believers invest in our health. Therefore, we owe ourselves adequate/moderate food, sleep, and exercise. In fact, sustaining and improving our health easily involves worship and praise. Just as you fast to focus on a spiritual concern or say grace before eating, you can pray and meditate before, during, and after exercise (even if you’re not Tim Tebow).
“Cross training” refers to training in different ways to improve overall performance. It involves using more than one type of exercise to achieve your training goals. Jesus is well known for being a remarkable walker. Walking is a loadbearing exercise that staves off osteoporosis while offering cardiovascular benefit to those who step up the pace. Boxers and body builders alike use “road work” and other forms of “cardio” to build stamina and burn fat.
Most health clubs feature not only treadmills, stair climbers, and elliptical cross-country machines, but also a track. Whether you use a machine or walk a mall, the resulting endorphins can enhance your praising God’s glory along with His gifts, such as your body, health, physical challenges, etc. The following day, you might knock out some reading on an exercise bike. Some stationary bikes are designed to accommodate reading materials, allowing you to kill two birds with one stone.
“Day Three” could involve swimming/walking laps in the pool or light, high-rep exercises with weight machines that are designed for safety and efficiency. Assuming your doctor agrees that you should exercise, a personal trainer can help you design a cross-training program for you to follow independently after several training sessions.
What I found at The J in Dallas is not only a workout facility par excellence, but also a friendly collection of considerate, educated citizens of varied ages and abilities. Gentiles are welcome and make up roughly 30% of the membership. Working out there treats me to hearing people speak Yiddish and Russian, not to mention tidbits of Jewish humor. Some wear yarmulkes (skull caps). The locker and wet area facilities are first rate, especially considering the reasonable membership dues.
Cross training with God’s Chosen at The J blesses me as I contemplate the Jewish One who died on a cross.