walking

A Walk That Counts

"Surely then you will count my steps but not keep track of my sin." --Job 14:16

Read: Job 14:16

Along with some of her co-workers, my wife is watching her step, literally. In a company-wide initiative, she and a group of co-workers have decided to encourage activity and join the Get Active campaign. To help keep track of daily movement, everyone is wearing a pedometer to catch each step of the day, from the first to the last. And they've dispersed log books to help monitor their every move. It's a neat exercise among co-workers and friends. (Hmm, I'm starting to think our nightly walks have taken on a new meaning.)

Well, a friend of hers in the group playfully figured out that if you wave the pedometer in the air a certain way, it thinks you're walking. One wave equals a step. Seems it's easy to fool a pedometer by going through the motions but it's impossible to fool God. He knows the steps we take, doesn't He? Just look at today's verse. In fact, the bible also says that, "The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him." (Psalm 37:23) Indeed, pedometers may count steps, but our goal is to take steps that count for the cause of Christ.

On this week's stroll, plan on counting things; from the blessings, to the stars, to the cost. Yes friends, because of Jesus, we can take a walk that counts.

--Jimmy Peña

5 FLU-FIGHTING FOODS

So it's already going around -- the aches, the sniffles, the coughs. Flu season is settling in across America. Here are five foods that you can take down to increase your odds of making it through unscathed (or only minimally impacted).

>> Click here for the list!

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Jesus Ate Perfectly

"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work." --John 4:34

Read: John 4

Jesus ate perfectly. Does anyone find that amazing? Whether during a hearty celebration meal with friends or while eating sparingly on the road as He traveled, He never sinned. In fact, nobody ever ate better. Now, that's food for thought.

Some of you may be sitting back in your chair thinking, "Wait, what? Surely you don't mean perfectly?" Well, in fact, yes. That's exactly what we mean. See, we believe Jesus was perfect in every imaginable way and that includes how He ate. It's easy to think of Jesus as the healer or speaker but perfect eater? Well, while we know He never ate for vanity or gluttony, that truth is easier to digest when we realize that nothing He ate or didn't eat would prevent Him from reaching the cross for your sins and mine. Knowing that, it's tough to argue that He ate perfectly, wouldn't you agree?

So what can that teach us? For one, it should remind us that God looks at the heart, so we might as well get out of the mirror. But it also means that neglecting the body and eating without purpose is a heart issue. On one hand, we can't be so focused on our waistline that we fail to see the needs around us, nor can we eat in such a way that we can't function with abundance or fulfill our potential.

But isn't it liberating? See, like you, I believe Jesus enjoyed a good meal with the disciples and I like to imagine Him leaning back and being the first to doze off. But humbly, I can also see Him going days without food, fasting for Heavenly wisdom for you and for me. Oh my friends, it's when we see food through His eyes that the table clearly comes into focus. Enjoy food, respect food, and learn how it allows you to serve Him. After all, He was the perfect example. Everything He ate or didn't eat, helped Him save us.

--Jimmy Peña

FUN FACT: As we strive — and struggle — to live more like Jesus, it’s important to immerse ourselves in God’s word on a daily basis. But an extension of Christ-like living, whether we realize it or not, is exercise (1 Timothy 4:8) — because Jesus did a lot of it, mostly through walking. Sure, most of that was out of necessity but you can bet that He was pretty fit. Would you believe that Jesus walked over 3,000 miles during his ministry?

>> The Word is out...PrayFit's new, challenging at-home workout DVD is helping people build physical and spiritual muscle! We peaked at No. 14 today on Amazon's hot new releases in exercise & fitness and are determined to hit the top spot. We're blessed by your support...and sweat! Share the link below with others, or order yours today!

Easy To Miss

"He asked them, 'What are you discussing together as you walk along?'"  --Luke 24:17

Read: Luke 24

I can just imagine those two disciples walking toward Emmaus together. It was late in the day, their heads hung low as they kicked up dust with each reminiscent step. After minutes of silence, one would remember something Jesus said, bringing a grin to both their faces. After all, these two heard and saw things not written in the bible.

After another quiet mile or so, the other would bring up "that time when," and the two would smile, shake their heads, laugh and cry. Who would blame them? They missed their friend. Not the miracle maker or the water-walker, but just Jesus. The same Jesus who would tell a good joke at night, sending all the guys to bed laughing. And the same Jesus that listened to their stories with the anticipation of one who didn't already know the ending. Jesus was easy to miss.

Even when He was walking right next to you.

--Jimmy Peña

Friday Discussion: Did you see Jesus this week? Maybe in the doctor that gave you the news of your blood sugar? Perhaps it was the homeless man who wanted nothing more than for you to look him in the eye? Friends, Jesus may not walk beside us like He did on the road to Emmaus, but He walks among us. Whether in school, work or the gym, let's remind each other not to miss Him, because it's easy to do.

From the editors: Thankful to all of you for your faithfulness to PrayFit. You bless us. In Jesus' name, we train. Have a good weekend.

PRAYFIT TV Check out and share this inspiring video about the transformative power physical stewardship

Jimmy Peña's message of "Life is not about the body, but health is a means of praise" is being well-received by congregations around the country. His story-telling approach to how a healthy body can strengthen the body of Christ and inspire abundant living is a message you don't want to miss.

>> For ministry assistance or to get Jimmy out to your church, write us at info@prayfit.com.

Benchwarmer

"So Sarah laughed to herself." --Genesis 18:12

Read: Genesis 18

Benchwarmer. Not something that sat well with me. But during my sophomore year in high school, I endured it for the first time in my life. See, I was a baseball player, and a good one. But basketball? I probably should've hung up the Air Jordans as a freshmen. Sitting at the end of the bench during a blowout game, I hoped my friends and family would assume I was injured; maybe I twisted an ankle during warm-ups or something. But with a little over a minute on the clock, the unthinkable happened. Coach called my name.

"Reluctant" would be putting it mildly. I literally peeled myself off the chair. I removed my warm-ups from my cold body and joined the otherwise sweaty and necessary group of kids on the court. What's the use, I thought. Well, the clock ran out, we shook hands, and I put my warm-ups on as slowly as I had removed it.

Well, leaving the locker room that night to face the awkward "good game" from loved ones, Coach stopped me. He said something that I'd carry the rest of my life. He said, "I wanted to see your reaction when I called for you late in the game. Jimmy, it's never too late to make an impact."

Maybe you're wondering what kind of influence you can have. Perhaps you think it's way too late in the game for God to use you. That family member? Too far gone. That group of friends? Too set in their ways. No way God is calling me from the bench at my age, with my past. 

Folks, God has a way of doing the unexpected. And if He noticed Sarah laughing at the news of her baby on the way, rest assured He sees our reaction. So, take a minute to consider what the Spirit is whispering to your heart. If it's too lofty, too lowly, too late...God just may be looking for our reaction to His call. Carve this into your heart...If God calls for you, it's never too late to make an impact.

--Jimmy Peña

WALKING FOR HEALTH Just an hour of this low-impact activity per day can make you 50% healthier

Watch some TV? Just make sure you go for a walk after. New research put out by the American Heart Association showed that an hour of walking per day can cut your genetic tendency toward obesity as a result of watching the picture box by half.

"In our study, a brisk one-hour daily walk reduced the genetic influence towards obesity, measured by differences in BMI by half," said Qibin Qi, Ph.D., study author and a post doctorate research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass. "On the other hand, a sedentary lifestyle marked by watching television four hours a day increased the genetic influence by 50 percent."

The study included 7,740 women and 4,564 men from the Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Researchers collected data on physical activity and TV watching two years prior to assessing BMI.

>> For the full story, click here.

Shepherds In Suits: Part II

"For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways." --Psalm 91:11

Read: Psalm 91

So yes, Part II. I didn't plan to write about those Shepherds in Suits again, but what happened Sunday just begged it. Sitting in an intimate gathering to celebrate the life of a fitness publisher who recently passed away, I listened as men and women shared their memories. The room was full of familiar faces. Writers, photographers, publishers and editors that I've worked with for over 14 years; a bit of a reunion. But one familiar face I didn't expect to see, was a face nobody recognized or even noticed.

Wouldn't you know it, standing against the wall a few feet from the guest speaker was one of my shepherds from across the world over three years ago. Same suit of armor, same focus, same purpose. This particular shepherd had the previous honor of protecting one of our former Presidents on Marine One. So to say the speaker was in good hands on this day is an understatement. In that moment, I squeezed Loretta close to me. I couldn't help but think of the angels that God has sent to protect me and my family. We can't see them, but I know they're there.

Max Lucado once wrote, "God sends his best troops to oversee your life. Imagine the President assigning his Secret Service to protect you, telling his agents to motorcade your car through traffic and safeguard you through crowds. How will you sleep knowing heaven's finest are doing just that? You are not alone. Heaven's mighty angels watch over you." Someday as we celebrate Heaven and honor Jesus, we too will have a reunion. Loved ones who went before us, and strangers who are no longer strangers will all be there. And so will our angels. I hope I get to thank mine. You know, we are safe to pursue an abundant life. We're watched. How bold does that make you feel as you tackle your day knowing you're flanked by God's army? Let's show them.

--Jimmy Peña

1.5 - Hours of leisurely walking per week shown to improve cognitive function among women, compared to those who walked less than 40 minutes (Source: MedicineNet.com)

How Deep Is It?

"For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the spirit searches all things; even the depths of God." --1 Corinthians 2:10

Read: 1 Corinthians 2

During Memorial Day weekend, I overheard some kids as they were running toward the pool. They had it all. Towels, floaties, goggles. I think I even saw Scuba Steve hanging out of a bag somewhere. But it wasn't what they were taking to the pool that caught my attention, it was what they kept asking: "How deep is it?!" One kid asked, then another and another. Their dad, carrying all the tools for the fun, simply said, "Go find out!"

I remember asking that very question at each new pool we visited as kids. Going over to a friends house to swim, "How deep is it?" Maybe you did the same. But one thing is for certain, we asked it on purpose. Why? Well, it wasn't because we planned to stay in the shallow end. It was because we were going to A) dive in and B) try to touch the bottom of the pool.

When it comes to our lives and our health, let's be kids again. Splash around. God has given us this one life, so let's go find out. I like to think He enjoys watching us run to the day's water with one question ringing in His ears.

--Jimmy Peña

FUN FACT: AQUA CARDIO

While you're scrambling around this week figuring out what to do to start reclaiming your health, you may want to consider hitting the deep end and splashing around, literally. (Okay, maybe with a bit more purpose.)

Did you know that swimming can burn 430 calories in a single, 30-minute session? That's right, "chasing the black line" in your local lap pool could help you get in shape quick, and with less stress on your joints. Swimming with high effort using the standard freestyle stroke tops some of these other activities in total calories burned over 30 minutes:

High-impact group aerobics - 301 calories Walking on 10% incline, 3 mph - 319 calories Bicycling, 12-14 mph - 344 calories Running, 5 mph - 372 calories --Estimates based on a 180-pound individual.

Source: American College of Sports Medicine

>> TAKE THE CHALLENGE: PrayFit is helping people of all ages and experience levels recapture a level of health they haven't seen in years. Have you taken the PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge? If not, you can click here for more information and get started today! Once you're ready, you can track your workouts and interact with other members of the PrayFit community here.

>> RUNNERS: Do you run to keep fit? Join in on this hot forum topic now to offer insight, get ideas and share experiences.

Benchwarmer

"So Sarah laughed to herself." --Genesis 18:12

Read: Genesis 18

Benchwarmer. Not something that sat well with me. But during my sophomore year in high school, I endured it for the first time in my life. See, I was a baseball player, and a good one. But basketball? I probably should've hung up the Air Jordans as a freshmen. Sitting at the end of the bench during a blowout game, I hoped my friends and family would assume I was injured; maybe I twisted an ankle during warm-ups or something. But with a little over a minute on the clock, the unthinkable happened. Coach called my name.

"Reluctant" would be putting it mildly. I literally peeled myself off the chair. I stripped my warm-up off my cold body and joined the otherwise sweaty and necessary group of kids on the court. What's the use, I thought. The clock ran out, we shook hands, and I put my warm-up on as slowly as I had removed it.

Well, leaving the locker room that night to face the awkward "good game" from loved ones, Coach stopped me. He said something that I'd carry the rest of my life. He said, "I wanted to see your reaction when I called for you late in the game. Jimmy, it's never too late to make an impact."

Maybe you're wondering what kind of influence you can have. Perhaps you think it's way too late in the game for God to use you. That family member? Too far gone. That group of friends? Too set in their ways. No way God is calling me from the bench at my age, with my past. 

Folks, God has a way of doing the unexpected. And if He noticed Sarah laughing at the news of her baby on the way, rest assured He sees our reaction. So, take a minute to consider what the Spirit is whispering to your heart. If it's too lofty, too lowly, too late...God just may be looking for our reaction to His call. Carve this into your heart...If God calls for you, it's never too late to make an impact.

--Jimmy Peña

WALKING FOR HEALTH Just an hour of this low-impact activity per day can make you 50% healthier

Watch some TV? No judgement here. We like NCIS: Los Angeles, too. Just make sure you go for a walk after. New research put out by the American Heart Association showed that an hour of walking per day can cut your genetic tendency toward obesity as a result of watching the picture box by half.

"In our study, a brisk one-hour daily walk reduced the genetic influence towards obesity, measured by differences in BMI by half," said Qibin Qi, Ph.D., study author and a post doctorate research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass. "On the other hand, a sedentary lifestyle marked by watching television four hours a day increased the genetic influence by 50 percent."

The study included 7,740 women and 4,564 men from the Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Researchers collected data on physical activity and TV watching two years prior to assessing BMI.

>> For the full story, click here.

Say Something

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations." --Matthew 28:19

Read: Matthew 28

A recent conference call took an interesting turn. See, I was blessed to be the link between my friend (the reason for the call) and a potential group of investors. Compared to the names on the line, I was definitely the little man.

Well, things seemed to be going just fine, but as the meeting was coming to a close, my friend did the unexpected. In his closing remarks to everyone he said, "Jimmy speaks for me." And then he hung up. (Cue the crickets) In one sentence, my role changed. Four little words converted me from little man to middle man. The reason for the call was gone, but I was his voice. Eyes wide, heart pumping. "Say something" I thought to myself. (Cue the life lesson)

Friends, you and I represent the Reason for our call; in how we speak, work, live...and move.

Say something.

--Jimmy Peña

FAST FACT

47 Percentage reduction in symptoms of depression for those who walked 30 minutes, 3-5 times per week.

Source: MedicineNet.com

FEAR LIES AHEAD

August 5, 2011Read: Exodus 14

"It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” --Exodus 14:12

Before the Israelites crossed into the promised land, they found themselves in no man's land. They were in the middle of the harshest desert in the world, after all. They had long since left the paradoxical security of pharoah's bondage where, despite being in captivity, they were provided food, water and accommodations at night. Their GPS? The footsteps of a stuttering man and his brother.

Walking aimlessly day after day under the punishing African sun, survival instinct began to wash over them. Hunger, thirst, frustration and fear had started to erode the already tenuous faith that they had placed in Moses and Aaron. But they were stuck. Both before them and behind them lie vast, hopeless stretches of scorching hot sand, with nary a nibble of food or a drop of water in sight. What to do?

Then Moses laid it out: “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

When we find ourselves wandering in the desert, we'd be well served by continuing boldly on the course that He's set for us. If we do, thirsting only for the water that gives life, reaching the sand's horizon will be eternally more rewarding. Moses assured the Israelites that even though fear lies ahead, God lives above. How's that for a compass?

--E.V.

PRAYFIT NUTRITION Q&A

Q: How can drinks be zero calorie? Doesn't everything take energy to be digested by your body and wouldn't that make these beverages inherently caloric?

A: Since these types of beverages are mostly water (plus artificial sweeteners, which are chemicals), they contain virtually no calories. Water is absorbed by most cells by simple diffusion and similar pathways that do not require energy so the calorie expediture is considered negligible. The effects that the chemicals may have will vary depending on the type, but do not have much to do with caloric intake or expenditure.

>> DID YOU KNOW? Research shows that people may over-rely on diet drinks, consuming more calories than usual because of the perceived caloric deficit. Temper your consumption of these beverages, instead getting the bulk of your fluid from water. Aim to consume about half of your bodyweight in ounces of water per day. A 160-pound person should aim for around 80 ounces from sun-up to lights out.

PrayFit contributing nutritionist Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

 

AIM AT HEAVEN

February 22, 2011

Quote of the Week: "Aim at heaven, and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth, and you get neither."- C.S Lewis

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Lunge for Better Legs

Walking is a fantastic exercise that can provide a strong base of cardiovascular fitness, particularly when you push yourself to walk faster and farther each time. But those who can do more should in order to achieve higher levels of fitness and to force the body to continue changing. So this week, we're adding a tougher twist to your normally casual stroll through the neighborhood.

Lunge walking is a great activity that puts a huge demand on all the major muscle groups in your legs, especially two areas that women prefer to target -- butt and thighs. To do a walking lunge properly, you simply take a longer-than-normal stride, then lower yourself by bending at both knees until your back knee almost touches the ground. Then, power yourself up and take another long stride and repeat. When you take that forward step, make sure not to allow your front knee to travel over or past your toes – if they do, you are putting your knee under too much stress.  You can prevent that by simply taking longer steps.

Lunge This Way

Take today's workout outdoors, if possible. If you can't simply apply these principles to the traditional lunge.

Traditional Lunge | VIDEO

After about five minutes of walking at a brisk pace, take 25 lunge steps with each leg, then walk at a brisk pace for 1-2 minutes. After that walk, repeat the process and take 25 more lunge steps. Repeat this 2-3 times total on your walk today.

If you have knee or hip problems, don’t worry about taking deep lunges – simply lower your body as far as is comfortable. You’ll still get the benefits of a more advanced workout today.

WALKING THE WALK

October 7, 2010 "For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." --1 Timothy 4:8

As we strive -- and struggle -- to live more like Jesus, it's important to immerse ourselves in God's word on a daily basis. But an extension of Christ-like living, whether we realize it or not, is exercise (1 Timothy 4:8) -- because Jesus did a lot of it, mostly through walking. Sure, most of that was out of necessity but you can bet that He was pretty fit. Would you believe that Jesus walked over 3,000 miles during his ministry? Click the link below and marvel at the mileage He racked up. Then, lace up your shoes and take a walk! WWJD?

HOW FAR DID JESUS WALK?

>> FORUM: Does God call us to be fit? See what others are saying and leave your thoughts in our forums or by clicking comments below.