A Lifestyle of Fitness!

I had a friend who recently credited me with his renewed commitment to regular exercise. I was surprised by his compliment, but as he explained the context for this admission, I remembered some of the specifics from that beginning conversation. We were doing some business during dinner and talking about a basket of very cheesy biscuits that had just been delivered to the table by our server. I think my friend and I speculated how many of those delectable carbohydrates we could ingest if calories didn't matter. I confessed that for me such "carbs are a killer!" The friend agreed!

I then began to share how at the beginning of 2011 I made a decision to get myself in shape for a trip to the Holy Land and other biblical sites of the Middle East three months later. I have a close friend who chided me, "You need to get yourself in shape! I'm not carrying you up Mt. Sinai!" Imagine how ambitious, if not audacious, my plan to reverse fifty years of no exercise and bad eating habits in such a short time frame. I did have at my disposal a relatively new, but unused treadmill that was languishing in the basement alongside a recumbent bike. Both were simply gathering dust! Regarding exercise equipment, I had no excuse!

By this time in my adult life, I was dealing with nearly ten years of discomfort due to a diagnosis of osteoarthritis in my left hip. I was "buying time" and avoiding the inevitable joint replacement surgery by daily taking anti-inflammatory medicine to help in the managing of my pain. Whenever someone had suggested that I needed to start moving more, I would counter "It hurts!" That was my excuse, but I was also being told that if I would start an exercise regimen I would be pleasantly surprised in how much better I would feel.

I can remember hearing a radio news feature on exercise that walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week could make a major difference. I concluded, "I can do that!" So I started my daily program by holding the handrails of the treadmill and set the speed to a twenty minute mile (approximately 3 mph) and away I went on my humble and awkward venture of trying to rehabilitate my out-of-shape body.

I kept to my commitment each day, Monday through Friday and welcomed the weekend respite. I wrote down my weight and miles walked each day on an "accountability chart." I improved my stamina so much that in ten short weeks I found myself bounding up the steps from numerous Holy Land archaeological sites with growing vigor. After returning home, I continued the program. By the end of August, 8 months later, I had lost 40 pounds of weight without a single day of dieting and was growing in strength each day.

All these years since, I have been blessed to maintain my target weight (allowing for slight seasonal fluctuations) to within three to five pounds of that August 2011 statistic. I learned from my very fit daughter, who, as a physical education teacher "practices what she preaches!" the importance of reading the nutrition facts on food packaging. It matters what the portion size is, the calories listed, the amounts of sodium, sugar, and fat grams that are calculated.

I would go on to have that hip replacement surgery in July of 2012. I was able to make a very speedy recovery and to get back to that daily exercise regimen within three months. I have been pain free for 7 years now. My prosthetic, "good hip" is perfect and the other natural joints do not give me any trouble whatsoever! In the last five years, I have added weights to my daily 40 minute program.  I have never felt better with more energy, strength and mobility! Exercise has been a "game changer for me!" And to think it all started with a commitment to simply walk 30 minutes each day, five days a week!

I often think of how Jesus my Lord walked everywhere he went! How he ate the fishes and fresh fruits and vegetables of His Mediterranean diet. He was fit! That stamina sustained him during the most demanding and stressful of His days. He had a lifestyle regimen that started as a child in which it is said of Him, "He grew and became strong... was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him" (Luke 2:38). I desire that this should be said about each of us that we are fit in mind, body and soul! About my friend and any others who will make a lifestyle commitment to getting in shape, "Godspeed and may the Lord prosper you on your fitness journey!"

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com


  1. You're will power has always impressed me my friend.

  2. Rather than shear will power, I think the secret is ordering your daily schedule to allow for a workout time, be it morning, noon or night. Making oneself accountable to family and friends is another dimension to success. I daily write down the results and sometimes read them and weep! :)


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