Today Dr. Luke will talk with us about the relationship between health and exercise. What is the relationship if any and how does it affect our bodies. This is important as in modern society people do not exercise as much as in the past. Dr. Luke will start by telling a story of a friend and how they exercised or sometime didn’t exercise.
Long Xiao Ting was a 42 year old urban businessman. He had worked hard to get where he was. He was born into a poor family. His father had been a farmer and worked hard but did not make much money. Long Xiao Ting was determined to not be poor like his father. One thing he greatly admired about his father was that because of his father’s hard work he was very fit. However, Long Xiao Ting’s mother told him that she was always concerned her husband worked too hard. Long Xiao Ting was proud of his father as he was fit and did not have an ounce of fat on his body.
Long Xiao Ting studied hard in university and made good grades. He even was able to go to graduate school and get his master’s degree in business. He worked very long hours and his wife complained all the time he worked too long each day. Long Xiao Ting had to admit that he did work long hours, sometimes up to 16 hours a day and many weekends he worked Saturday and Sunday.
One day Long Xiao Ting was walking up the stairs and felt more short of breath than normal. He later went to the hospital as he did not feel well. The doctor at the hospital checked him out and told Long Xiao Ting the only problem he had was being too fat. He was probably 15 -20kg overweight. He needed to loose weight soon or risk having some other health problems.
Long Xiao Ting told the doctor he was not that overweight and could easily control his diet and loose weight. The doctor told him that all his patients who were overweight told him this. That is they are not too overweight and they can loose the weight fast. The doctor told Long Xiao Ting this was just a justification in their minds for their own problems.
Long Xiao Ting asked what kinds of health problems he could have. The doctor told him that a sedentary lifestyle that is one where there is little exercise is associated with 28% of deaths from chronic disease. The doctor went onto say that even moderate to vigorous exercise has been shown to lower the risk of heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis in women and even some bowel diseases. The doctor went onto say that the effects of exercise appear to be dose dependent with a major difference between non and mild to moderate exercise and a smaller difference between mild to moderate and vigorous exercise.
Long Xiao Ting thought all of this was very interesting but he asked the doctor to give him a specific example. The doctor gave him the example of a stroke. He said, recent studies have shown that the relative risk of stroke was found to be less than one-sixth in men who exercised vigorously compared with those who were inactive; the relative risk of non-insulin-dependent diabetes, the doctor added, was about half among men who exercised five or more times weekly compared with those who exercised once a week. The doctor continued in mentioning diabetes that glucose control is improved in diabetics who exercise regularly, even at a modest level.
Long Xiao Ting was encouraged about this information and very impressed with the doctor’s level of knowledge. The doctor told him he should start on an exercise program of 30 minutes a day of walking and gradually increase this to 30 minutes a day of running after 2-3 months. Long Xiao Ting thought this was a good idea and agreed to try it.
After several weeks of trying to exercise he was feeling discouraged. He just did not have time to exercise. What was he to do? A few weeks later he met a friend for lunch and they discussed about their work and then Long Xiao Ting mentioned about his problem with not being able to get a good exercise program going. His friend who was a few years older than Long Xiao Ting told him that he had the same problem several years ago. He was overweight and could not find the time and was concerned about his weight. The doctor had told him, like Long Xiao Ting he must loose weight. Long Xiao Ting’s friend finally came up with a plan but not without some help from a friend.
Long Xiao Ting asked him who that friend was. His friend told him that it was the person of Jesus Christ. Long Xiao Ting had heard of Jesus Christ but had never thought of him as someone he could count on to help him loose weight. Plus, he asked his friend, wasn’t he a religious person that only westerners believe in? Long Xiao Ting’s friend turned to a place in the Bible which said, ‘Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed- I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses, ‘declares the Lord, ‘that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it? (Isaiah 43.10b-13).’
Long Xiao Ting’s friend said this not written for westerners but about 2700 years ago to the people of Israel. He went onto say that the same would be present today. There is no god other than the Lord God revealed in the Bible and there is no salvation apart from him. Long Xiao Ting asked his friend, laughing as he said it, why he needed salvation? He was fine. His friend looked him back in the eye and asked him if he was really happy. Did he enjoy the long hours of work, the drinking at night and being away from his family, the stress of work and not knowing if one day his work would be here and gone tomorrow? Long Xiao Ting had to admit he did not like parts of his life but he did like having money. His friend asked again if he really liked having money, did money really make him happy or was he kidding himself?
Long Xiao Ting’s friend turned to another place in the book of Isaiah which said, ‘Remember this, fix in your mind, take it to heart you rebels. Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is not other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still t come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. From the east I will summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do. Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted, you who are far from righteousness. I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed (Isaiah 46.8-13).’
Long Xiao Ting’s friend said this passage meant that we all are rebels, there is only one God, i.e. the God of the Bible and his purposes will stand and part of that plan is bringing what is right to the earth. It was not an idea or thing which brought this righteousness to earth but the person of Jesus Christ. It was Jesus Christ which took away the emptiness in our lives which we thought earning money, eating food and working would fill. Jesus Christ filled this void and these things. Long Xiao Ting had to admit much of what his friend said about these things was right, they did not fill his life and even made it his life more complicated than easy.
Long Xiao Ting’s friend suggested he go back to the doctor and get more advice and input about loosing weight. So Long Xiao Ting went back to the hospital to see the doctor.
The doctor took Long Xiao Ting’s blood pressure and told him that like the last time his blood pressure was slightly elevated as was this one. The doctor told Long Xiao Ting that exercise may also confer benefits on those with chronic diseases like high blood pressure. Exercise has been shown to produce sustained lowering of both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with mild hypertension like Long Xiao Ting had. In addition, exercise can help patient’s ideal body weight, and the risk of heart attacks is estimated to be 35-55% lower for individuals who maintain ideal body weight compared with those who are obese. Physical activity also has been shown to reduce depression and anxiety, to improve adaptation to stress, and to enhance mood, self-esteem, and performance.
Long Xiao Ting had to admit all of this was a great incentive to exercise. Again, the doctor told him to start walking 30 minutes a day and over 2-3 months increase his walking to running over 30 minutes. Once he gets to that level he should be able to start loosing weight. Long Xiao Ting agreed to this plan thought he knew it would be hard. However, he wanted to hear more about this Jesus person from his friend and called him and they got together again.
Long Xiao Ting’s friend started where they left off. Jesus Christ can only give you a new life if you believe in what he did for you. What was it that Long Xiao Ting asked his friend? First, as they discussed earlier we must admit that we have done wrong before God, which is called sin. For example Long Xiao Ting’s desire only for him to succeed and not to let God direct him is going against what God wants for his life and is thus called sin. Before, as they had discussed, they mentioned that all of this work was not healthy or particularly fulfilling in life.
Long Xiao Ting’s friend showed him a place in the Bible which said, ‘as for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among then at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature object of wrath that is God’s wrath (Ephesians 2.1-3).’ This shows that our sins caused us to be separated from God and there is no one exempt from this separation. Chinese, Westerner’s, all people are subject to God’s wrath as a result of our sin and separation from God.
However, his friend continued, the solution is Jesus Christ. Long Xiao Ting’s friend continued to read from the same place in the Bible which said, ‘but because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions- it is by grace you have saved (Ephesians 2. 4,5).’ God’s love was so great even when we did not deserve it God gave us Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins and took our sin on his body in our place. All we have to do is believe on Jesus Christ and what he has done for us and we will be saved now and forever. We will have new life now and power to overcome our problems now and life forever.
Long Xiao Ting’s friend read from another place in the Bible which said, ‘if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved (Romans 10.9).’ If you believe these things, that is that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and later was buried and three days later rose from the dead, then you will be saved and have new starting right now and forevermore.
His friend asked him if he wanted this new life and Long Xiao Ting said he did. His friend asked him to pray this following prayer after him. ‘Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I have sinned and as a result am separated from you. I know that I need you as a savior for my sins. I believe that you died on the cross for my sins and then after you died you were buried and three days later rose to show that you have victory over sin and death. I ask you to come into my life to save me. I ask this in Jesus name. Amen.’
Long Xiao Ting gained a new life through Jesus Christ both now and forevermore and read in the Bible ‘whatever you do in word or deed to all to the glory of God (Corinthians 10.31).’ This new life in Jesus gave him the desire and power to overcome the emptiness in his life and eat and exercise better.
You too can have the same new life in Jesus Christ as Long Xiao Ting if you will just place your trust in Christ as he did and pray this prayer.