Resisting Sedentary Seminary

Remember the “Freshman Fifteen”? What about the “Seminary Several”? Perhaps you escaped the undergrad weight gain only to find that now seminary hits you with the one-two punch of entering your *ahem* shall we say, less than prime years, coupled with devoting an inordinate amount of time to sitting, studying, and consuming large quantities of coffee and Snickers bars. Jeff and I thankfully haven’t added the Seminary Several, but we have discovered that Seminary equals Sedentary, and after a life of sports and activity, these past three years of seminary have taken their toll on our fitness to say the least. So, this past month Jeff and I took a weeklong summer intensive course. Even though I committed to staying alert, focused, and purposeful in gleaning as much as I could from class, by 11am on the first day I was drowsy and guiltily clicking through Facebook to keep myself alert. By the time lunch rolled around I was ready to ditch my healthy brown bag in favor of French fries and a Caramel Macchiato.

The Lunch Run

But (!) I was fiercely determined that I was going to take the opportunity to get some exercise during this summer class. So, I decided that during the lunch hour each day I would go running. Fortunately the weather cooperated, and I had just enough time to go to the gym, change into shorts, run for thirty minutes, then splash some ice cold water under my arms, and get back to class a little red in the face but energized beyond what any Starbucks would ever be capable of achieving.

I was amazed at the results. I found it so much easier to focus during the afternoons (and I’m a morning person so I can’t blame it on that!). I found myself energized, positive, enthusiastic, and feeling motivated to eat my healthy lunch rather than ditch it in favor of the McLunch I would later regret. On the last day of class it started to rain, and since I’m a wimp, I forewent a run in the drizzle, and instead chose to explore the weight room of our campus’s gym. I was amazed! While not the most state-of-the-art fitness center, they had great equipment and free weights. And I practically had the place to myself. I realized that I’d been through three years of seminary without ever taking advantage of the free fitness facilities (Perhaps free is not the word considering the size of our school loans). How many days did I shuffle through my classes, unable to keep myself alert without shocking doses of caffeine, when I could have been taking time to exercise my body, relax my mind, and recharge for the studies ahead?!

Read, Ride, and Run

So it made me think, I want to tell Seminarians to take advantage of the free (“included with tuition”) fitness facilities available to us as students. Play “Noon Ball”, go for a quick run or walk, lift a few weights, sit on the recumbent bike while reading that theology textbook. Don’t neglect to exercise the body God’s given you in your quest for exercising your mind. Both are important in our service for Christ. And you might just be surprised how much easier it is to focus on Greek after running around the block for Jesus. Don’t let Sedentary Seminary lull to sleep. Instead, stay one step ahead of the Seminary Several.

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Written by kari-patterson