Habits That Work: My Daily Hallelujah

Getting regular exercise was always a challenge for me until I discovered the Leslie Sansone indoor walking program.

I loved to walk outside—at least that’s what I always told myself. It seemed that my daily walk was always the first thing to drop from my day. Perhaps I didn’t really love walking as much as I thought. It was too easy to find an excuse to skip my daily constitutional:

  • It’s too dark.
  • It’s too late.
  • It’s raining.
  • I don’t have enough time.
  • I’m getting a sore throat.

Walking at Home

All that changed when I discovered Leslie Sansone’s walk-at-home DVDs. With her indoor walking program, dark evenings, rainy days, or snow-covered sidewalks no longer mattered. I could walk one, two, three, four, or even five miles all in the comfort of my own living room—power walking in place, a few steps forward and a few steps back, side steps, kicks, knee-lifts, clapping, with arms raised, with arms outstretched, with hand weights or without. Some of her more challenging walks even included jogging.

I started looking forward to my daily “multi-muscle” walk with Leslie. Her enthusiasm was contagious. She was encouraging and energetic without being overly perky first thing in the morning. “Your body was not designed to sit still,” she would say. “Walk, walk, walk . . . walk away the stress, walk away the blues . . . you’re walking yourself healthy . . . you’re walking yourself fit.” As she raised her arms high, she would smile and say, “I just raise my arms to heaven, and say a little hallelujah!”

Each high-spirited mile was punctuated with laughter. On the DVD, her fellow walkers were women and men, younger and older, her daughter, a long-time friend—people who seemed to like each other and enjoy being together. They seemed glad to be walking, and I was glad to walk with them, too.

Leslie’s personal story also inspired me. She taught her first exercise class in Pennsylvania in a church basement. When she realized many people found traditional aerobics too challenging, she went on to develop her own more accessible walking program. Soon her classes filled up, and she now has over 70 million walk-at-home fans.

Body and Spirit

I’m learning that the habit of daily exercise works for me, both physically and spiritually. After all, we are body and spirit, so physical disciplines like fasting and working out are never purely physical. They also have a spiritual impact. As Romans 12:1-2 urges us, body and spirit go together: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (emphasis added).

I don’t use my Leslie Sansone walk-at-home DVD as much as I used to. As soon as I walked my way to a base of fitness, I moved on to step aerobics, cardio dance, and other workout routines. But on days when I find myself making excuses—I’m too tired, I don’t have time—I pop in one of her walking DVDs for a change of pace and a boost of energy.

Now when I’m doing step aerobics or lifting weights or going for a walk outside, I often still hear Leslie’s voice in my head—”your body is made to move!”—and I still find myself saying a little hallelujah. Hallelujah—I praise God for another new day! Hallelujah—I am body-and-spirit offering my sacrifice of praise. Hallelujah—in the Spirit of God I live and move and have my being (Acts 17:28).

In this way, my work out is quite literally a spiritual exercise.

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I wrote this article for The High Calling, as part of a series on habits that bring us closer to God. For copyright information and licensing, please see Habits That Work: My Daily Hallelujah.

Writing/Reflection Prompt: What habits work to bring you closer to God?

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