In the bible the scripture 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 states, “Do you not know that your body is a temple 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 body.”
Throughout the bible, there are countless references to the human body as a temple – a place where the spirit of God dwells. In theory, if God lives within us, we are to treat our bodies as though they are holy representations of God himself. By honoring a higher power with our bodies, we are careful to eat with honor, live with honor, act with honor and protect and strengthen our temples as a complete sacrifice.
Religion — or faith if you will — is often a driver in connecting us on a deeper level, giving many of us just-cause to see the way that we take care of our bodies much more than simply a fitness routine.
The practice of Yoga, for instance, has seen a dramatic rise in participants throughout America as students learn to use the values of meditation, stretching and balance to promote inner well-being, physical fitness, stress-reduction and spiritual awareness. Yoga is even being taught to children with attention deficit disorders assisting them with increased focus and anxiety management.
“You can’t really consider yourself in good health if all parts of your being are not healthy — your body, your mind and your soul. It’s a complete package,” Tayyibah Taylor, publisher of the Muslim women’s magazine Azizah told The New York Times in an article on Muslim women and fitness.
There are even instances where working out was fueled by faith-based practices such as combining faith-based activities (like prayer) with physical activity became a key motivator for fitness in people that were not active otherwise in their daily life. In 2010, UCLA released a research study involving 62 African-American women from a variety of Christian and Catholic denominations. These women were asked to participate in faith-based exercise programs for a period of time and by the end of the study had increased their activity by three miles per week or 78 percent.
Whether you identify as a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Bahai, Hindu, Pagan, or any other spiritual belief system you may follow, how often do you look to your spiritual life as a motivator in the way you conduct and maintain your physical lifestyle?