Sunday, March 15, 2009

Importance of Spirituality in Physical Fitness and Health

More and more doctors and health scientists are realizing the importance of spirituality in optimizing your health and fitness. Are you someone who wants to be more fit and healthy but you have trouble sticking to your fitness goals? If so, chances are – you lack the level of spirituality (and/or mental strategies) to endure and stick to your fitness goals.

I often spoke in my seminars about my previous mentors or professors who were prominent researchers in nutrition science and exercise science. However, they are not particularly in shape. This observation was one of the contributors to my realization that knowledge in nutrition, exercise, and health is not enough. Although it is important to have reliable science-based information, we need more than this. One of the things that we need more of is building up our spirituality.

In HPE 12 (a health class required for all undergraduate students at the city college where I tutor and teach workshops), the spiritual component is included in the textbook. My point being - the importance of spirituality in obtaining optimal physical fitness and health is now “textbook knowledge”.

What is spirituality? I view spirituality as becoming more connected to God. I’ve heard some teachers of “universal spirituality” define spirituality as knowing yourself or getting in touch with that which is within you. This is only partially true. If you become more connected to God, you will become more connected with that which is within you (placed in you by God when He created humans). However, just "getting in touch with your inner self" without knowing God does not maximize your level of spirituality. Therefore, it is best to focus on connecting to God in order to become “spiritually fit”. This will in turn improve your physical health and fitness.

It also works the other way around. The more physically fit you are, the more easily you will be able to obtain your desired level of spirituality. More about this in future blogs.

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