Read an Excerpt
Walking the WalkGetting Fit with Faith
By Leslie Sansone
Chapter OneDay 1
Arise and Walk!
Over the next thirty days, you're going to be doing some good hard thinking about your life, your body, and your goals. But today is not one of those days! It's easy to overthink a situation. You can think about a problem so much that you bury yourself in the thinking and never get around to doing anything about it. Sometimes it's necessary to just do it! A lot of things that seemed confusing or insurmountable become clear once you're actively making progress.
Today is your just do it day.
Plan a time when you can sneak in a half hour to walk with me. If you haven't exercised in a long time, then fifteen minutes is fine. The important thing is that you actually do it. Once you've got one day under your belt and see how easy and fun it is, the rest of the days will be a piece of cake.
Part of this has to do with breaking your patterns. We sometimes think of our spirit, body, and mind as three separate things, but they are intimately connected. Any change in one affects the others. Mental stress shows up in our face, skin, and graying hair, and can even cause us to gain weight. A sagging spirit can easily take down our bodies with it. But the flip side is true, too. We've had the experience of feeling sluggish ordepressed and of thinking we just want to sleep, but then we do something active, like take a walk or go for a swim, and our entire outlook changes. Suddenly, we have tons of energy and the future looks a whole lot better! We managed to revive our mind and spirit through the body!
Call this "runner's high." Call it "walking away the blues." Call it whatever you want. Just know that it works. You can change your patterns and change your life. A daily walk is a perfect place to start to make this come true.
That's why if you're down in the dumps about your weight or health, the worst thing to do is overanalyze it. Get up and walk instead! Not only will you actually make an impact on your weight and health but you'll raise your spirits more than any amount of mental gymnastics ever could.
See if you recognize yourself in any of these un-faith-full thought patterns. Today, try to switch your inner dialogue so that your mind walks the walk along with your body.
I always fail weight-loss programs. I was meant to be overweight. Exercise is harder for me than it is for other people. Why even try? I'm just getting older. It's a losing battle. If I'd started in my twenties, I'd still have time to get fit.
Walking the Walk:
"Today is today. By walking with spirit, I'll make it a great day. And Tomorrow will be even better."
Walking for Other Reasons
"Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." 1 John 2:6
I like to think that I walk with God in all that I do, but I really feel it when I'm walking. Walking is a form of energetic worship, just like singing in a Baptist church. It's also something Jesus did a great deal in His lifetime. Walking has a strong Christian tradition.
True, the Bible doesn't make a big deal about walking for exercise-or about any other form of exercise, for that matter. Does that mean people didn't need exercise back then? Of course not. People walked every day. They had no choice. No one needed to worry about getting exercise to improve their health or lose weight; physical activity was a given. What they needed to worry about was consuming enough calories to supply their needs! With no cars or public transportation, almost all travel in the early Christian era was on foot.
In His lifetime, Jesus walked thousands and thousands of miles. As a child, He most likely traveled from Nazareth to Jerusalem many times. In the course of His ministry, He traveled from Galilee to Jerusalem, into the wilderness and back, and throughout Israel. He probably walked many miles most days. While this would make Him a champion walker in our era, He thought nothing of this, and it's likely that His contemporaries didn't, either: They were walking nearly as much! The apostle Paul traveled many thousands of miles on his missionary journeys to Greece and beyond.
Would Paul have taken a car or train if he'd had the opportunity? Certainly. And it wouldn't have been practical for Jesus to walk throughout Israel if everyone else had been zipping around in Toyotas. But He did walk, and it must have helped energize Him, too. When I walk, I like to remember that I'm engaging in an activity that directly connects me to a two-thousand year-old tradition of inspired walkers serving the Lord by putting one foot in front of the other. Just look at how many times the Bible uses walking as a metaphor for the spiritual path, from "And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us to We walk by faith, not by sight."
When you walk, know that you aren't doing it just for yourself. Taking the time to care for your body is a direct path to physical, mental, and spiritual fitness. Above all things, it is your spiritual fitness that will lead to a successful life on this planet and will help you further God's plan.
On the future days of this thirty-day program, I'll suggest various activities you can do to start working that day's topic into your life. But on this first day, I don't want you to worry about anything but walking. I have just one activity to suggest for today, and it is a nonactivity.
Turn off the analysis machine in your head. Today, don't criticize yourself, don't compliment yourself, and don't evaluate your performance in any way. Just do. The more you think things to death, the less likely you will be to act. This is your day to act instinctively and unhesitatingly in everything you do, but especially in beginning your walking program.
The Nitric-Oxide Breakthrough
Steady cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, running, or cycling, causes your body to release nitric oxide throughout your cells. This chemical helps dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow throughout the body, allowing extra energy and oxygen to reach your muscles when you need them, but it also increases the flow of neurochemicals in your brain. You think faster and more creatively. So yes, walking literally changes the way you think about things!
Endorphins to the Rescue
Cardiovascular exercise also causes the release in the brain of endorphins- natural "feel good" chemicals. That's why you feel so good after exercise. Several studies have found that regular exercise is as effective as antidepressants in treating mild depression-and it sometimes works in cases where antidepressants don't. Perhaps the best long-term mental impact of exercise is the self-esteem it gives you, knowing that you've improved your looks and health along with your outlook. That's an effect drugs can't match!
Walk Away Those Pounds
You burn about two hundred calories doing the two-mile walk as demonstrated on the enclosed DVD. Do that most days each week and you'll burn away twenty pounds of fat in a year. Your change in dress size will be even more dramatic, because all that walking uses up fat and builds lean, sleek muscle, giving you the tone you want.
DAY 1 JOURNAL
Arise and Walk!
"The strength I need to get fit is already inside me. Starting today, I will call on that strength everyday, and I know it will guide me."
How Far? ___________________________________
Strength Training? _____________________________
How'd It Go? ________________________________
Excerpted from Walking the Walk by Leslie Sansone Excerpted by permission.
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