Strength to Endure

In life, there is a delicate balance between strength and endurance. Both are very complimentary, but too much of one can be exhausting.  Fighting with all your strength, without waiting for the right time is frustrating; and enduring so long without the strength to stop, leads to burn out.  Merriam-Webster’s dictionary says endurance is “the ability to withstand hardship, adversity, or to sustain a prolonged stressful event or activity.”  In these times, we look to “…Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross…” (Hebrews 12:2 KJV).  Jesus made a way for us to “…run with perseverance {endurance} the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1 NIV).

In both physical fitness and in our spiritual walk, strength and endurance are the keys to success; and the balance of the two even more so.  For spiritual fitness, the Lord supplies us with His strength daily, and we need to learn to live in it.  He supplies us with His whole armor; the strength to endure and the ability to stand when all we can do is stand (see Ephesians 6:13).

God formed and fashioned the human body so intricately and with such thoroughness, that our minds cannot even comprehend how it all works together so incredibly well! Because we are to take care of the “temple” He has given us, we need to look for ways to improve our physical fitness, as well as our spiritual fitness.

Your body was made with a mix of two types of muscle fibers; one for strength and one for endurance.  Your bones are stimulated by strength exercises; and your ligaments, the bands that connect your bones, respond well to endurance exercises.  Your heart and lungs love endurance exercises; however, it just may not always feel that way in the beginning.

Beginning any endurance training program doesn’t have to be frustrating, difficult, or require running a marathon.  The key is to make it simple and increase your distance or time on a slow, but consistent basis.  Make it fun and easy by following these steps:

  1. Pick! – Choose an exercise that you enjoy doing on a regular basis, or would consider learning to enjoy such as: walking, running, swimming, bike riding, hiking, or even yoga.
  1. Plan! – Where are you going to perform the exercise? Plan a route.
  • When are you going to do it? Plan your days and times.
  • Who are you going to exercise with? Grab a friend, or spend the time alone with the Lord.
  • How and when will you increase from one level to the next? Make your goals small, specific, and attainable.  Examples: increase your time by five minutes after two weeks, make one more lap around the park in three weeks, etc.
  1. Push! Once you pick what you are going to do and have planned out when and where you are going to do it, do it! Hold yourself accountable in positive ways.  You know how to reward yourself, especially when you feel marvelous that you have accomplished your goals.
  2. Consider the following endurance exercises as a part of your new routine. As always, check with your medical professional before starting an exercise routine.

Plank

  1. Start on your hands and knees on the floor.
  2. Exhale and lift your knees so your body weight is on your hands and the balls of your feet.
  3. Make sure your body is in a straight line from your ear to your ankle and hold the position for as long as you comfortably can; try for 10-15 seconds. Remember to breathe normally!
  4. Inhale and return to the starting position.

*Advanced Position Plank

  1. Start by lying on your stomach, propped up on your elbows.
  2. Exhale and lift your knees so your body weight is on your hands and the balls of your feet, and your upper body is supported on your elbows.
  3. Make sure your body is in a straight line from your ear to your ankle and hold the position for as long as you comfortably can; try for 10-15 seconds.  Remember to breathe normally!
  4. Inhale and return to the starting position.

Wall Squat

  1. Start with your back against a sturdy wall and your feet about hip-width apart, three feet in front of the wall.
  2. Exhale, bend your knees, and slowly slide your hips down the wall until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor (or as close as you can).
  3. Hold the position for as long as you comfortably can; try for 30-60 seconds.
  4. Inhale and return to the starting position.

How long can you hold it?  Increase your time by 5-10 seconds after 1-2 weeks and watch your endurance build!

Squat

  1. Start with your feet about hip width apart, gently grasping a sturdy object for balance.
  2. Exhale, bend your knees, and slowly lower your hips down until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor (or as close as you can).
  3. Hold the position for as long as you comfortably can; try for 30-60 seconds.
  4. Inhale and return to the starting position.

Ab Balance 

  1. Start seated on the floor with your knees bent and hands grasped behind your knees.
  2. Exhale, contract your abdominal muscles, and gently rock back and balance on your rear-end.
  3. Lift your feet and bring your lower legs parallel to the floor, or as close as you can.
  4. Hold the position for as long as you comfortably can; try for 30-60 seconds. Remember to breathe normally!

 

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