Many years ago, I was trying to get more exercise and looking for a way to energize myself for the effort. I thought saying the rosary while taking a walk might be the encouragement I needed, and it would allow me to check two things off my list at once. I tried it, but it was winter time, and bundling up for a walk at 6 AM was a nice novelty, but once was enough. I’m not sure if it was the cold, my lack of interest in getting healthy, the time of day, or the added prayer that squelched my enthusiasm; perhaps a combination of all of those factors.
I have been more successful lately with exercise inside. I am blessed to have some basic fitness equipment at my workplace, and I usually use the cross trainer twice weekly. There are often other employees who come in and use the provided televisions to watch a program as they work out. To me the television is an annoying distraction, maybe because I’m not interested in sports news, which is often the channel of choice. I usually listen to Christian music on my phone or tablet.
Once during the Christmas holidays, when I was trying to be as efficient as possible, I used an audio rosay app on my tablet while working out. Part of me felt guilty that I was exercising while saying the rosary, but when I got home that night, I was able to continue my Christmas baking with a bit more spring in my step. The next few times I went back to the standard praise music but kept wondering, what if I tried the audio rosary app again? So I did; several times. With the specific app that I have, I can say the Divine Mercy chaplet, the St. Michael chaplet and the rosary in a 40 minute workout. I do worry that every time I recite these prayers in the future, I will be reminded of working out. What if they become a chore with this association? But I have an alternative, and listening to music can be both uplifting and still help me focus on my relationship with God.
I think the difference for me this time around is my attitude. Even looking at exercise alone, I see it now as a need to keep the body God gave me working as best it can. Adding a layer of prayer, whether it’s praise music or scripted prayers, serves to remind me to say “thank you” for the body God provided. It’s giving back to Him what He gave to me.