Spiritual Fitness

(Written by Bob Garon II and Joe Siok)

Everybody wants to be “fit”, right?

We are bombarded with this word daily. Seemingly endless TV segments, infomercials, articles, podcasts, websites, YouTube videos, etc.

Be Fit
Stay Fit
Get Fit
Fit is Good
Not Fit is Bad
Fit, Fit and more Fit

Just for fun, I typed “fitness” into that magical Google machine, and in 0.69 seconds it spit back exactly 3,360,000,000 results. For comparison, I typed in the name of our current President, and I only got 1,010,000,000 results. I suppose the upside there is that “fitness” is roughly three times more interesting to us than politics. 🙂

The downside is that I believe (no hard statistics) that the overwhelming majority of those 3.3 billion sites are about physical fitness. Just for fun, go pick 10 random people and ask them what it means to be fit. I’d bet a dollar than 100% of them would talk primarily about physical fitness, diet, exercise, weight loss, etc.

Fitness is such a buzz word these days that everyone seems to have their own flavor of choice whether it’s traditional weight training, Crossfit, Zumba, running, kettlebells, shooting hoops with buddies, swimming, or so many more.

The point of this blog is really the fact that there is more to being “fit” than just being in shape. I would suggest that there are three key areas that we should all strive to be more fit in, and they are:

Physical Fitness
Mental/Emotional Fitness
Spiritual Fitness

We all know that being physically fit is very important for our health and longevity. Over the last few years, we have also heard more and more about mental health, which I think is a great thing as everyone could use some work there.

But what about Spiritual Fitness? Have you even ever hear that term before? Has someone ever come up to you to asked about your spiritual fitness? Maybe while they were stuffing a triple cheeseburger down their throat? 🙂

I am guessing most people haven’t been asked that question. (thought pause) What would your answer be?

So what’s the deal? Why should that even matter? Why should I care?

Well, I personally think that everyone, myself very much included here, could stand to be more spiritually fit.

“OK smart guy, what does that mean and why are you questioning my faith?” (I am envisioning your question to me right now, coupled with perhaps a rude gesture or two.)

Let’s be clear – my goal here is not to get preachy or try to convert anyone to my beliefs, as I can respect anyone’s views, even if they differ with my own.

My point is that regardless of what your faith is, you could probably stand to spend some more time working on it.

As I am Christian, I’ll use myself as an example. Feel free to plug in whatever is appropriate for your faith. (and no, faith in the Cubs does not count so you do not get credit for spending more time at Wrigley, but if you see me there please wave)

For me, becoming more spiritually “fit” would involve:

  • Spending more time in God’s Word (aka – reading the Bible)
  • Attending church on Sundays
  • Working harder to live according to Christian values
  • Serving in my community
  • Attending my weekly Bible study

I could probably write a blog or two on each of those bullet points, but I think you understand.

Whatever your faith is, get closer to it, whatever that means.

Why does that matter you ask?

Here are a few noted benefits to improved spirituality:

  • Improved immune system function (click HERE)
  • Longer life, lower risk of depression, more faithful relationships (click HERE)
  • Lower blood pressure, improved social connections (click HERE)

I am NOT here to preach salvation, damnation, etc – but if you just look at the above benefits, roads to Hell aside, seems like time well spent, if not for the benefit of living an enhanced life?

While you are working on your spiritual fitness, of course, do not abandon your physical fitness. I’m guessing that even the Pope could not “out spiritual” his likely health issues were he also starring on “My 600 Pound Life”.  

The point here is about balance.

We should not be exclusively focused on our physical fitness – that we ignore our emotional and spiritual fitness as well.

They each harmonize the others.  When we are physically fit we tend to be more regulated emotionally.  When we are emotionally fit we tend to be more apt to seek ways to work on our spiritual fitness.

And for many of my Crossfit friends, I realize that it is likely close to a religious experience for you, but that doesn’t count – sorry.  🙂

So where to go from here?

That’s really up to you – just keep balance in mind. Do not focus only on one and completely ignore another.

Maybe just riding your bike to church and back would be a good start?