Today Dr. Luke will take to us about how do we do exercise to help us with our health. This is important as many people want to exercise but do not know how to do it. Dr. Luke will start by telling us a story of a person who learned to exercise in a way that benefited their health.
Ma Lei was a 43 year old man who worked in a factory in one of China’s larger cities. He was bored from his job but had no other choice of where to work. He just stood around at work and did the same old thing. What also bothered him was that he had been slowly gaining weight over the past 10 years and thought he was now quite overweight. He tried many diet and exercise programs but just could not find one which helped him so he could loose weight.
He wondered what to do. He had mentioned this to his wife and she was glad he did because she was also concerned about his weight increase. She finally heard one day about a doctor at a local hospital who could help her husband with exercise and weight loss. So Ma Lei and his husband went to see this doctor.
After examining Ma Lei and getting blood work back the doctor told him that the only thing he should do was work hard to loose weight. He needed to cut back what he ate but an important key was having good exercise which Ma Lei really did not have. The doctor told him that he would explain a good exercise program for him.
The doctor started by telling Ma Lei that in China today only about 22% of Chinese are active to a moderate level and only about 8% are active to the vigorous health levels needed for maximal health benefit. About 58% report irregular or no exercise at all. Generally activity levels increase with income and education and decrease with age.
The doctor told Ma Lei when starting it is important to have 5-10 minute warm up and cool down periods, stretching exercises, and gradual increases in exercise intensity help to prevent musculoskeletal and cardiovascular complications. The doctor continued that most people do not think that they have time to exercise or stated differently it is not a high priority for them. However, the doctor discussed with Ma Lei how he could take stairs instead of the elevator, walk or ride a bike to work in place of taking the bus. The doctor said, the more the better with exercise and anything is better than nothing.
The doctor suggested to Ma Lei that he take the stairs at work and in other places and walk or ride a bike and then try and start walking for 30 minutes a day for a month or two and see how things are going. If he still had problems he should return and see him. Ma Lei agreed to all of these suggestions and left with his wife fairly pleased about the visit.
After several weeks of trying Ma Lei was still frustrated with his weight. Some days he did better than others and other days he did not bike nor take stairs or even exercise. At best he was sporadic and had lots of problems with his exercise program. He felt like a failure. However his wife was behind him supporting him in his exercise program.
A month after they saw the doctor when Ma Lei was quite frustrated a friend of his dropped their house. They had not seen this friend for at least a year. However, he looked great. Ma Lei especially noted that he had lost a lot of weight and seemed happier. Ma Lei thought, who wouldn’t look happier if they could loose weight.
Ma Lei and his wife immediately asked him how he had lost weight. Their friend told them that after seeing a doctor he gave him an exercise program and he worked on it very hard for the past year and had lost about 20kg of weight. Wow, thought Ma Lei to himself that was exactly what he wanted to do. Ma Lei asked his friend out loud how he did this as he was so frustrated and he had tried so hard without benefits. His friend reviewed his exercise program in depth and it was almost the same as Ma Lei’s. That is take stairs, use a bike and start with 30 minutes of walking a day and then start running after 2-3 months. He asked his friend how he became so disciplined. His friend responded that it was not his efforts but the help of a friend.
Ma Lei said he wanted to meet that friend today if he could help him loose 20kg of weight. His friend said he could. Mai Lei’s friend took out a Bible and showed him a place which said, ‘therefore, since you are surrounded by such a great crowd of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (Hebrews 12.1-3).’
The person who helped him was this person Jesus Christ. Jesus gave him the inspiration to loose weight. How did he do this Ma Lei asked his friend and who was this Jesus Christ? First, Jesus Christ is the author of our life and the one who created us and this world. He is the God of this world and universe. But he is also the God who loves us.
Ma Lei’s friend turned to another place which said, ‘how much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God (Hebrews 9.14.).’ The basic problem is that all people have sinned before God. His friend turned yet to another place in the Bible which says, ‘for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3.23).’ The result of this sin is separation and punishment from God. An aspect of this separation is poor eating and exercise habits. We do destructive things to our body and not beneficial. To yet another place Ma Lei’s friend turned and read, ‘for the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6.23).’ All of us sin and the result is a punishment which separates us from God. However through his death and the blood Jesus Christ shed on the cross we have new life with the eternal God with a very clean conscience. All of our bad acts before God have been made clean and right because of what Jesus Christ did.
Ma Lei asked though how did this help him exercise and loose weight. First, his friend said, he wanted to be obedient and thus disciplined. Second, Jesus Christ gave him the desire to want to loose weight. Until he had received Jesus Christ as his own personal savior he did not have this power or even the desire. After he received him he had both the desire and power. Plus he had the desire to listen to what his doctor said and not just view him cynically. Ma Lei’s friend suggested he return to his doctor and get some more advice. Ma Lei did just that.
When Ma Lei returned to the doctor the doctor showed him some information on a graph which showed how much weight you should loose if you do certain levels of exercise. The doctor said that there are basically five levels of exercise. First is light or sleeping which uses up about 50 calories per hour regardless of how much you weigh. Consider that in a normal day we all consume about 2000-2500 calories. So overnight we would consume about 400 calories.
Then there is sitting which consumes an average of about 100 calories per hour. Certainly the smaller you are the fewer calories you consume and the heavier you are the more calories you consume.
Next the doctor told Ma Lei is light walking which on the average consumes about 200 calories /hour while heavy walking, which is fourth category consumes 300 calories per hour. Finally there is heavy exercise like running, swimming and playing soccer and that would consume about 500 calories per hour.
The doctor told him if you used half of that time or thirty minutes the best would be 250/half hour of exercise. That is really not a lot. Thus it is important to get to a level of strenuous exercise and walk every place he can. Ma Lei now really understood what he should do and why he should exercise more aggressively. Because if he did not he would not be able to loose much weight. Ma Lei returned with renewed vision to loose more weight and he did better than before but he had frustrations at not being able to do as well as he wanted.
He later came back in contact with his friend and asked him more about this person Jesus as he still could not exercise and loose weight like he wanted. Ma Lei’s friend told him he should not come to Jesus Christ just to loose weight but also to find salvation for life now and forever. That is what Jesus came to do and not just to help us to loose weight. Having our sins forgiven gives us to the purpose and power to help other aspects of our life like exercise and not the reverse. Ma Lei seemed to understand this.
Ma Lei’s friend went back and showed him what they had talked about before and how Jesus Christ had died for his sins. Until Ma Lei came to see that his separated him from God and only Jesus reunited us to God he would not understand God’s purposes for him.
Ma Lei’s friend turned to another place in the Bible which said, ‘but when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. The Holy
This means that Jesus died for the whole world’s sin once and for all and now lives forever before God to plead our forgiveness through him to God. Thus our sins are forgiven through Jesus Christ and we can approach God with full assurance of forgiveness. It is the forgiveness which gives us peace with God and resultant purpose and meaning in life now and until we die and eternal life after we die.
Ma Lei’s friend asked Ma Lei if he wanted to have this forgiveness of sins and new life with Jesus Christ. Ma Lei said that he did but how could he have this new life he asked his friend. Ma Lei’s friend turned to another place in the Bible which said, ‘if we confess with our mouths the Lord Jesus and believe in our hearts that God has raised him from the dead you will be saved (Romans 10.9).’ We must understand, believe and then act on these verses. That is we must believe that Jesus died in our place on the Cross to bear our sins and the sins of mankind. Because he did this he is our Lord. Then we must believe that after he did this he rose again from the dead and is alive today. This resurrection showed Jesus Christ’s power over sin and death and thus his ability to be the Lord of our life and give us new life and the daily power to have new purpose and meaning.
Ma Lei told his friend that he believed this. Ma Lei’s friend then asked him to pray this prayer after him. ‘Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I have sinned and that I have done wrong before you. I know that I need you as my savior. I believe that you died on the cross for my sins and that after you died you rose again from the grave to show your power and victory over sin and death. I ask you to come into my life to be my Savior and Lord. Thank You. Amen.
After Ma Lei prayed this prayer he had a new life in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ also gave him the power to have a new discipline in his life and also get new priorities over his life which helped to exercise and loose weight.
You too can have new life in Jesus Christ if you will just pray, understand and mean the prayer Ma Lei prayed.