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Workout on Sunday?

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Trying to figure out if it would be breaking the Sabbath if I were to work out on Sundays.

 

I'm an overworked dad (like many others, I imagine). On weekdays, I get up early and rush off to work where i stand at a computer all day. Then I rush home to distract the kids (1 and 5) while my wife makes dinner. Then I clean up after dinner by doing the dishes and cleaning the dining room and kitchen. At that point, we usually have something to do, like FHE or groceries or an activity of some kind, and then we have to convince the kids that going to bed is not really the end of their world. By the time I'm done with that, I'm exhausted, but I haven't done a whole lot of physical exercise.

 

Saturdays, we always have errands to run and housework or yardwork to do, and never enough time to get it done (sometimes that's simply because getting two kids to eat lunch is an ordeal).

 

I usually end up staying up late every night working on some project or other, like fixing broken toys or trying to keep up with the family finances, scripture reading, journaling, etc.

 

So even though I bike to work (8 miles round-trip), I don't get the exercise I think I need. And now that my metabolism is slowing down as I get older, I want to at least avoid gaining more weight than I already have. It seems like the only time I have for a good workout is Sunday morning. I just don't know if that would be part of keeping the Sabbath or not. I would work out at home instead of going to a gym to make someone else work, but it would be fairly rigorous.

 

Can anyone tell me if this would be a bad idea or if I might be able to legitimately justify it?

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The only person you have to "justify" this to is God. He wants you to keep the Sabbath day holy. If you can explain to him how a workout is a part of keeping this day holy -- not a justification, not an excuse, not a "good enough reason", but an actual explanation that your workout is consonant with and actually an active part of keeping the Sabbath day holy -- then you're golden. Otherwise, you may wish to reconsider.

 

The same applies to activities such as, oh, I don't know, posting to LDS.net. I am not firmly convinced that such an activity is a method of keeping the Sabbath day holy -- yet here I am.

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I face the same issue, except with me it's my job that robs all my free time.

 

Here's how I am treating this question.  This is just my opinion, and I'm not basing it on any specific teachings from the Church.  Others may disagree.

 

On Sundays, ordinary exercise of any kind that is comparable to something I'd do on other days is okay.  I would not train for a marathon on those days, nor would I take time to exercise that would take time away from family responsibilities.  And if I could combine it with something spiritual, that would be good.  (I used to go on long hikes or runs and listen to the Mormon Channel from my iPhone.)  Within the correct bounds, exercise is more like rest than work to me.  

 

And if I may offer a bit of advice... 3 or 4 short workouts during the week are better than one big workout on Sunday morning.  I'd say aggressive time management could be your real friend here.

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I second Vort's suggestion that if you can justify it before God as part of keeping the Sabbath then you're good to go. If you're hoping that someone here can authoritatively argue to the effect of how it is keeping with the Sabbath, I feel you're hope is in vain. For me this is because there is a subtle difference between true justification of an act and rationalizing to make an act appear just. So if you adopt working out on Sundays as part of your Sabbath routine because while you were sitting in sacrament meeting you felt prompted by the spirit to do so, power to you - go for it. If however you sincerely feel it is not really in keeping with the law of the Sabbath but are looking for a Pharisaical way to "justify" (incorrect usage imho, as i believe this is really rationalization - semantics is a problem with me) the action than it seems to me that is clearly not really good. It kind of reminds me of people getting married in vegas so as to "legally" break the law of chastity and then getting the union annulled/absolved... I can see how the argument fits the law in legal squirmery (JaG might like that term) but clearly does not meet the purpose of the law.

 

Now lest you think I'm saying you shouldn't work out on Sunday, hear me clearly -I'm not. I'm just saying being careful with your motives.

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Perhaps I'm just getting in touch with my inner contrarian, but I'm bothered a bit by this talk of private justifications before God.  Just a bit.

 

If a father decides to take a part-time job on Sundays to earn money to pay for his kids' college, and he justifies it before God as a valid way to keep the Sabbath, then he's golden and good to go? 

 

This is a sincere question.  I'm not trying to poke out some rocks just to start an avalanche.  

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If you're biking 8 miles a day, you're already getting more exercise time than most Americans.  Your cardiovascular health is probably in good condition.  If you want to avoid gaining weight,  you would do better to evaluate the kinds of food you eat and monitor your caloric intake.  

 

If you're interested in some light toning work, I don't think a 10 or 15 minute light routine on Sundays would be too distracting.  But it also probably isn't necessary.  So my advice would be, you know, whatever.

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Ditto on the thoughts about diet being more beneficial than exercise and small workout more beneficial than intense workout. When I biked to work (16 miles each way) with one job and when I biked before work (16 miles total) at another job, I generally found myself justifying a poor diet and didn't progress well in my goal of an ideal weight.  

 

Having said that, I don't think this it a "private justification" of your behavior if you feel your workout is honoring the gospel principle of good health and thus honorable on the Sabbath. I don't think that is what Vort was trying to indicate. If I had time to exercise on Sunday, I would because I think it honoring a gospel principle. I would be careful that it didn't distract from my Sabbath responsibilities. In other words, I wouldn't make a production out of it such that I skip a fireside or fail to prepare my lesson, or even ignore my children or help my wife with dinner.

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As someone who didn't work out for a long time and then started working out regularly several years ago, you aren't working out because you aren't making time for it.

 

I have an extremely busy schedule, but at least 3-4 times a week (I like to make it 5 days a week) I make time for a good workout. Working out just 1 day a week is IMO actually worse for your body. Going more than 5 days between working out puts your body back into muscle stress and soreness.  You'll have a hard work out be sore for 2-3 days, not do anything work out again 7 days later have soreness again for 2-3 days, etc. and eventually you'll quit.  If you work out every day or every other day the soreness will be there the first couple of days and then it's generally gone.  Every once and a while you might feel sore, but it won't be like starting fresh.

 

It is just my opinion, but if someone feels like they have to work out on Sunday they simply aren't making time for it the rest of the week. If you do circuit training you can get in a pretty good workout within about 30 minutes. Since you are biking already your cardiovascular should be good.

 

Part of the reason why you are so exhausted at the end of the day is because you aren't working out. It is contrary to what seems logical . . .but when you take 30 min. a day to work out you'll feel more well-rested, less stressed, and less exhausted.  My work has a small gym so I personally like to work out before I leave for the day . . .but I've worked out early in the morning too.  If your work doesn't have a gym or there isn't one close by, then buy a set of weights a pull-up bar and when you get up early take 30 min. and work out then go to work.

 

I applaud you on the desire to work out, but it has to be a daily habit or else it won't work. For me, working out is just below the level of scripture reading, daily prayer, etc. It helps me lead a more well-balanced happy life, I am going to make time to work out.

 

I might be reading between the lines, but it sounds like the children are causing a lot of stress, very small children (the one year old) can be very challenging, but by the time they are 5 they should be going to bed when you tell them with very little fanfare, they should be eating when you tell them with very little problems.  The 5 year old should be helping to mommy with dinner . . . putting out plates and dishes, cleaning up plates and dishes, vacuuming, etc.  

 

I might be the meanest dad out there but generally I don't fix my kids toys.  Certainly if they are riding their bike and a training wheel falls off or something along those lines or they ask in a really pleading nice voice . . . but in general they know if they break it tough nuggies- it is their toy, they need to learn to take care of it.

 

It is actually kind of cool, my 5 year old will ask me for a screwdriver so he can unscrew the battery case and replace the batteries in his toys and then he does it for his sister who can't do it for herself. Making sure he puts my tools back is a different matter (shakes head), but broken toys are part of growing up.

Edited by yjacket

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Strap your kids to a jogging stroller and take them out for a spin while your wife cooks dinner.  Get two gallons of water - one on each hand - and curl them while you're doing FHE, etc.

 

And make sure you let your wife have opportunities to workout as well.  You can both wake up 30 minutes earlier than normal, spread out the yoga mat and the yoga DVD (or the fitness channel on TV) and follow around.

 

Your problem is not solved by carving out the Sabbath.  Your problem is solved by creative time management - which can only happen if you REALLY put physical health as a top priority.

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Working out just 1 day a week is IMO actually worse for your body. Going more than 5 days between working out puts your body back into muscle stress and soreness.

 

Remember, though, that by typical American standards, biking a couple miles twice a day is hardly "going 5 days between workouts."  Depending on the route and riding style, (hammering hard up a mountain or loping along at 8mph through Kansas on a beach cruiser) that could be a brief, high intensity workout, or something more along the lines of a light warmup.

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Remember, though, that by typical American standards, biking a couple miles twice a day is hardly "going 5 days between workouts."  Depending on the route and riding style, (hammering hard up a mountain or loping along at 8mph through Kansas on a beach cruiser) that could be a brief, high intensity workout, or something more along the lines of a light warmup.

 

Oh no doubt biking 8 miles a day is awesome.  But biking and doing other exercise like strength training are different things. If all you do is 1 day a week of strength training (even with biking) it won't help too much except to maintain and if you push it hard on that 1 day of working different muscle groups you are looking to get hurt. 

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I will do yoga on Sundays. No workout video or focused workout. Just a nice meditative and quiet practice. I do find it helps become more reflective and peaceful. Yes, I feel this helps me on the Sabbath.

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Perhaps I'm just getting in touch with my inner contrarian, but I'm bothered a bit by this talk of private justifications before God.  Just a bit.

 

If a father decides to take a part-time job on Sundays to earn money to pay for his kids' college, and he justifies it before God as a valid way to keep the Sabbath, then he's golden and good to go? 

 

This is a sincere question.  I'm not trying to poke out some rocks just to start an avalanche.  

 

Fair question PV. My feeling is that the scriptures have several accounts of "bad" activities that under the circumstances are "good" or at least acceptable. The most glaring example off the top of my head being Nephi slaying Laban. Nephi didn't need to figure out a way to make killing Laban acceptable, in fact he didn't want to do it, but when commanded by God to do so he followed through.

 

I think personal revelation is a powerful and under-utilized tool in the church. The point is not to be looking for private justification to do activities that we want to do, but not to preclude the possibility of such exceptions either. If a Dad decides he wants extra money from taking a week-end job that makes him work Sundays It doesn't really matter how he outwardly explains it away. Perhaps it is being contributed to his son's mission fund, or some other noble seeming cause, it doesn't matter... however, if he firmly believes that he was guided to / blessed with a job that requires him to work Sundays via divine inspiration and he does everything in his power to still set the Sabbath apart from the week as a holy day/day of rest - he has no reason to justify it outwardly to anyone else because he is doing right by the Lord to the best of his understanding. I certainly am in no position to judge that I know better than he does when it comes to what he has received through personal revelation.

 

Thus motives matter. If the motive is to draw closer to Heavenly Father and act on the guidance you've been given than great. If the motive is really anything else with other reasoning given to make it sound angelic it is simply not the right motive.

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My wife and I go for a walk every Sunday morning before church. Our church is in the afternoon. We walk down a forest path and along the banks of a large dam. It's the only time of the week I get out to nature, here the birds and enjoy all of Gods various creations. But the real bonus is the time walking with my wife, talking, sharing, connecting. We walk for about 4-5 miles so there is a health benefit element to it also. I believe physical well being and spiritual well being are closely interconnected.

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My wife and I go for a walk every Sunday morning before church. Our church is in the afternoon. We walk down a forest path and along the banks of a large dam. It's the only time of the week I get out to nature, here the birds and enjoy all of Gods various creations. But the real bonus is the time walking with my wife, talking, sharing, connecting. We walk for about 4-5 miles so there is a health benefit element to it also. I believe physical well being and spiritual well being are closely interconnected.

 

I see no problem with this.  Communing with nature and all that God has provided can be a huge spiritual uplift and benefit.

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Sounds like a great idea! I like working out on Sundays.  It helps me relax and feel good about myself.  I personally don't see how it could be considered violating the Sabbath unless your exercising so much that you ignore family and church stuff

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