Health Improvement: Clergy

Clergy are being monitored by their supporting organizations to see just how healthy they are. They are utilizing the most effective means possible: surveys.

I’m being a bit facetious. They are doing much more than that. There are numerous incentives, coaching programs, and discounted activities all provided for by insurance. I imagine other employers are working on the general health of their employees, and I’m glad the church is lagging less behind than usual.

The surveys do get a little taxing while they still manage to collect relevant data on the general health of the participants. For my own part, I’ve changed eating habits and have brought my stats into a much healthier range. It took a lot of effort, but I did it without any of the tools that could have been truly helpful.

How? There are literally hundreds of sites dedicated to the topic and more diets than can be counted. What I did boils down to three simple things taken to extremes:

1) Limit Calorie Intake – I calculated out the calories I needed a day and took out 15%. For the most part, I worked out the details and tried to commit. But figuring out the habits required took a little more than just calculating.

2) Slow Increase of Physical Activity – It’s tempting to go run 10 miles or swim 10 miles on your first run out the gate. But that’s beyond our capabilities when we first start in. Learning our limits and increasing slowly in rhythm with our bodies recovery cycles is essential.

3) Weight Bearing and Cardio and Flexibility – I separated out weight bearing and cardio and flexibility work although each has an element of the other. One of the greatest tests of any routine is improvements in these three areas, but all come back to a fundamental question: what activities do you want to be able to do on a regular basis and what do you have to do to get there?

All of this helped me. My knees are stronger, my blood test results have improved, my blood pressure is lower, and I can go out and do what I want to do and play with my daughters. If I had stayed in the same shape I was in, I couldn’t have hiked the light house trail with Jane on my back, let alone getting up to the Upper Fish Creek Falls this summer.

I hope more clergy see that responsible self care is better for them, their families and the people they serve. Hopefully all these new tools will help them get where they want to be.


About Sean Smith

Husband, Father, Pastor, Swimmer, Writer, Reader, and attempted Adventurer!
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