I love sports

By Sabine Schulze, Production Manager CBN and Fitness Trainer 

“Short break! Take a sip of water. While doing so, please keep moving.” Sentences like these I shout several times a week. Then I find myself in the class room of my sports club, and in front of me is a group of hard-breathing people. Most of them are between 25 and 50, including teachers and IT specialists, office workers and nurses. We all have one thing in common: we love sports and definitely don’t want to miss it. 

I have been a part-time fitness trainer since 2014. It’s a good balance to my job at CBN, where I mostly sit and look at monitors. Because when I’m exercising, I’m moving. I jump and run. Do squats and push-ups. Work out strength, flexibility and my cardiovascular system.  

“You invest that much time in sports?” 

I realize that it’s unusual in the Christian scene to invest a lot of time in sports. When I became a Christian at age 23, I too would have found this suspicious: At the time, I thought a spiritually minded person should leave behind everything that belonged to this world – and that included anything physical. I wanted to be a good Christian at all costs and didn’t realize at the time that I was living a hostility towards the body that didn’t fit in with the Christian faith at all.  

Only later did I understand that this hostility to the body had its roots outside Christianity: it was thought that the spirit was above the soul. And the soul was above the body. Taking care of the body was therefore the lowest level of human existence – a level that should be left behind as far as possible. This idea then also found its way into the thinking of Christianity. 

God created us as physical beings 

Today I understand God and the texts of the Bible as anything but hostile to the body. I see it in such a way that God wanted and created us humans as physical beings. That the physical side is just as much a part of it as everything else that makes us human: feeling, understanding, will, abilities, etc. Man is a complex marvel of many interwoven facets. This idea is in the background for me when I read texts like, “He keep you whole, that you may be faultless in spirit, soul, and body when our Lord Jesus Christ comes.” (1 Thess 5:23). Or when the creation story says “Then the Lord God took some dust from the earth, formed man from it, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Thus man became a living being.” (Gen 2:7)    

We living beings belong to God  

We human beings, who are living beings, belong to God. Even everything that (supposedly) belongs to us ultimately comes from God: possessions, talents, money and, of course, our bodies. Paul writes, “Live in such a way that you bring glory to God with your bodies.” (1 Cor. 6:20) But how can we respect our bodies in such a way that we treat them well as gifts from God? How can we be ‘good stewards’ of our bodies?  

The body needs our care 

Our bodies need two things above all: adequate nutrition and the right amount of exercise. Now, of course, there are no texts in the Bible that tell us how we might go about exercise and sport. But what do we conclude from this? I understand it to mean that in biblical times most people were physically exhausted. They didn’t need sports because their bodies were fit, because they worked with their bodies. (There are people like that today, too. I think of movers or caregivers, for example). I, however, sit at work. This means that I am putting the wrong kind of strain on my body for hours every day, and harming it. It also means that I am allowing many of my body’s abilities to atrophy. And thirdly, it means that my health is increasingly affected (with a time lag, of course). Typical consequences of lack of exercise are high blood pressure, heart weakness, back problems and muscular tension. So the gift that God has given me (my body) is very likely to become a problem area. Lack of care on my part. 

In the texts of the Bible, I find evidence that it is good to show care for the body. For example, Paul writes to Timothy, “Now I give you some personal advice: no longer drink only pure water.  You are sick so often, and a little wine with it would do your stomach good.” (1 Tim 5:23). And in the stories of the miraculous multiplication of bread, Jesus makes sure that people can satisfy their hunger. At this point, I imagine how one or the other reader agrees with me – but still can’t motivate themselves to exercise and do more sports. To these readers I would like to say: 

Sport makes you happy and healthy 

I experience so much happiness through sports! First, there’s what sports does to my mind: I switch off from professional challenges. My attention no longer revolves around worries. In outdoor sports, I feel the air and sun and experience nature. (All of this, by the way, often leads me to find creative solutions that I wouldn’t have come up with while thinking at my desk). Next, sport immediately gives me energy: just when I feel dull and exhausted. I know then that the exhaustion was not physical, but mental. I wonder if this is what Ecclesiastes meant when he wrote “Much learning wears out the whole body” (Eccl. 12:12)? And third, there are the medium- and long-term effects of sport and exercise:  Climbing stairs? Zero problem. Carrying heavy groceries? Why not! Blood values? All great. Summer heat? My circulation copes well.  As a trainer, I also see how others find more health through sports. I’m always happy to see that – it’s one of the reasons I love being a fitness trainer! 

Let’s go  

Perhaps you, dear readers, haven’t exercised in years. And think by now it’s pointless anyway. I can comfort you: through sport it is possible to build up strength, improve mobility and strengthen the cardiovascular system even into old age.   

Which sport do I recommend? Always the one you enjoy! Anything that fits your preferences is good. Do you like to be in nature? Try Nordic walking. You want to get out of everyday life and into another world? Swimming could fit. Do you feel like doing sports in a group? Then fitness classes are right for you. Do you like competition? Try badminton or table tennis. Do you want to win as a team? Volleyball and soccer are suitable for that. You like to move to music? Try dancing (There is not only couple dance, but also line dance, tap dance, ballet, jazz dance, etc). Want to incorporate more exercise into your daily routine? Then get on your bike more. 

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what sport you do: The main thing is that you’re moving and having fun. So I would say: Let’s go! 

Sabine Schulze has been head of TV production at CBN Germany since 2016. She is a part-time fitness trainer and DTB functional coach. At the age of 23, the then administrative assistant found her way to Christian faith. After her three-year bachelor’s degree in theology, Sabine trained as a TV editor and helped build Germany’s first Christian TV station ‘Bibel TV’.


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