According to the Fitness Industry Association (FIA), each year in the month of January whilst gym attendance sees a 12% rise, most people quit or stop going after 24 weeks.
Exercise and its importance are often overlooked, however on Tuesday 3 September the North England Conference (NEC), Area 6 ministerial fraternal had an extraordinary meeting on the topic of 'The minister and fitness'. Dr Herbert, Area 6 fraternal leader, reminded all ministers that our dress code was a tracksuit, trainers and a towel. We all assumed that we would be engaging in some exercise and came prepared for a light workout.
We gathered together in a side room at the Pendeford Adventist church, towels on shoulders, water bottles in hand and a desire to enjoy our time together. Our guest, Joe Caines, a Team GB coach and fellow Christian, had us sat in a circle and spoke on, 'The importance of exercise and being fit as a minister'.
We were asked questions about our water consumption, sleep, food habits and personal time. This challenged us to reflect on the question, 'how much are we looking after ourselves?' There was a clear warning that ministers are in the high-risk category for chronic illnesses which, if not averted, will render us useless to our churches and families. All who were present appreciated the seriousness of exercise.
Joe invited us to put our chairs aside, roll out our mats or towels and get ready for exercise. We started with stretches and then transitioned to squatting, jumping, core strength, upper body and lower back exercises. Everyone broke a sweat, and when Joe saw the perspiration he declared "Sweat is good, it's good for you". Each exercise lasted a short time, but each member of the group was grateful for the 30-second recovery time given.
At the end, we were all appreciative of this first of its kind fraternal meeting. We exercised, fellowshipped, ate, drank and talked about the experience.
Before we left, Joe encouraged all of us to try to dedicate a two-hour slot into our weekly routine. This could be for some exercise, family time or personal reflection; this would greatly help us with stress level reduction.
The Area 6 fraternal would like to express a big thank you to Team GB coach Joe Caines.