Aussies enjoy sport. We love to spectate and participate. From youngsters to seniors, from school up to international level, you’ll find many of us enjoying all kinds of sporting and leisure activities. That’s why our home-grown community clubs are such popular places. They offer local residents plenty of exercise, good company and heaps of fun. And, even if you’re not a sports fan, there’s so much that’s positive in enjoying our great-outdoors and being active.
Getting out and about is good for us, say researchers at Melbourne’s Monash University. In fact, they report that taking part in physical activity, “leads to lifelong health benefits.” But, and here’s the downside, “only if it is injury free”. And that’s the rub. While we may wish to walk, jog, cycle, play tennis, golf, or compete in team sports, we want to do it safely.
That’s why the Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention was created. According to the experts involved with this project, “Every year around one million Australians are injured playing sport or undertaking recreational activities.” This statistic has prompted the group of researchers, policymakers and specialists, to find ways of preventing sports-related injuries. While their good work continues, another dimension not often seen as relevant to preventing injuries, has been gaining more attention.
Current research into the connection between spirituality, thought, and good health is turning up interesting results. It’s showing that even subtle shifts in thought can have a significant impact on our physical well-being. Perhaps that’s why we’ve seen some American athletes thank a divine power for enabling them to compete successfully. Spirituality can lift thought above limitation and advance mental and physical health. Here’s an example.
My neighbour begged me to go jogging with her in our hillside streets. On our first few outings, we barely made it around the block! Concerned about this, I decided to approach our evening runs from a spiritual standpoint. Spirituality had successfully helped me overcome several health problems.
So before our next jog, I took time to meditate prayerfully. I affirmed that my stamina and ability to run without experiencing exhaustion or injury, came from a divine source. As I jogged, I kept such thoughts in mind.
Several weeks later when we’d graduated to longer distances, my neighbour started to complain about all sorts of discomfort – terrible pain, a stitch in her side, a sore heel, an inflamed foot, aching calf muscles, and weakness in her ankles. One day when she was again doubled over in pain, she asked me why I never got injured or ever complained. I told her I honestly felt that prayer was helping me. She asked me to pray for her, which I did. Her injury woes ceased. We ran together for several years until I moved house. She then went on to successfully compete by herself in lots of community events.
Injuries are widely reported in many sports. Solutions are being sought. My experience encourages me to believe that spiritual thinking can help to bring about good mental and physical health outcomes. What benefits the mind, can also benefit the body. A Scriptural saying encourages hope in that direction. It suggests that it’s normal to be strong and energetic, run and not get tired, walk and not faint. Maybe taking a spiritual approach to sport and fitness, will enable us to find ways to safely stay fit and be injury-free.