For years now, researchers and health professionals have demonstrated that physical activity and exercise have a significant impact on our physical and mental health. We were designed to move. In fact, God created each of us to move. Think about the countless activities you perform throughout your busy day—from getting out of bed to putting your clothes on, from driving to work to working all day, and [you name it].

The intricate bodily systems God put in place for the simplest of tasks, such as brushing our teeth or tying our shoes, are nothing short of miraculous. From the thought of I need to brush my teeth, which requires activating brain cells, to the nerves, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones all working together, the flow of movement occurs beautifully.

Whatever you find yourself doing throughout your day, it most likely demands you to move your body in some form or fashion to complete a given task—and none of this could be accomplished without your muscles. Muscles help us stand, sit, walk, bend, stretch, twist, push, pull, reach, and carry.

Slowing Down

For most of human history, our ancestors were constantly moving. They were hunters, gatherers, farmers, homemakers, soldiers, and more. Their lives consisted of much physical activity or physical labor throughout the day.

They didn’t have to think about exercise, because their entire day required exercise. Their muscles and bodies were strong, fit, and productive. It wouldn’t be uncommon for one of our ancestors to expend the caloric equivalent of walking ten miles in one day. Many a middle-aged man of years ago could pick up objects or sustain physical exertion levels that most eighteen-year-olds today would find extremely difficult. It wasn’t until the later part of the eighteenth century, with the Industrial Revolution, that machines began to replace many of the daily movements and activities people were used to doing.

Fast-forward to today and we are now in the age of the computer, cell phone, remote, escalator, and elevator. Movement has been slowly removed from our daily living, and we are, unfortunately, reaping the costs with compromised health, excess weight, aches and pains, premature aging, and weak muscles. How can we reverse this trend and make our bodies young and strong again?
Do we have some great news for you! Truth be told, you can make exercise a reality and discover movement you truly enjoy. When exercise is a part of your life because you want it, enjoy it, and are inspired by it, you will reap its benefits immensely. We will teach you proven fitness tips and relate stories of real people who have discovered the life-changing benefits and joy of exercise.

Take a Picture

Imagine that you have a digital camera in hand to take a picture of yourself. Now, don’t be nervous, but take a “picture” of your current health and fitness. Give yourself plenty of grace, and don’t be critical, but take an honest peek from head to toe.

-How is your energy level?
-How do you feel most days?
-How is your weight?
-What do you notice about your face, shoulders, arms, abs, and legs?
-How does your present fitness level impact your faith, food choices, focus, family, work, ministry—and life in general?

Once you have thought through these questions, is there anything about your current picture of health and fitness that concerns you?

Now imagine yourself five years older than you are today and in the best physical shape you have ever known. Picture yourself Daniel Strong—physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually fit. Go ahead and take a snapshot of your fitness and health five years from now.

We can only imagine what you would be able to do then. But there would be activities you could enjoy that you can’t today. Your thoughts, emotions, and experiences with and about your body would be much different.

Dream Big!

“I have a dream!” Everyone knows those famous words that echoed through the crowds at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, on August 28, 1963. These simple, yet profound words by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sparked the end to racism in the United States and was the defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement. What began as a dream and vision of what could be ultimately became a national movement and a reality, leading to freedom and justice for millions of Americans.

In many ways, dreaming is the first step to accomplishing almost any endeavor. It is no different with fitness. To get moving, we need to begin with your big dream.

Ask yourself, “If I could realize or accomplish anything related to my fitness and health, without fear of failure, what would it be?”

To inspire you to dream big, here are a few dreams from others who have embarked on The Daniel Plan:

-Help build a school in India
-Complete a 5K run
-Learn to swim
-Do 100 push-ups without rest
-Hike through the Grand Canyon
-Compete in an Iron Man triathlon
-Scuba dive off the Barrier Reef
-Start a softball team
-Get a black belt in karate
-Cycle across the state with grandkids
-Compete in the next Olympic games
-Kayak through Alaska
-Climb the Great Wall of China
-Complete a marathon in every state

You may find it difficult to capture a big fitness dream right now, and that’s okay. Before you set your big fitness dream, take some time to ask God to show you what you would love to do, be, or experience related to your fitness a few years from now.