soul and body meet in faith, food, and fitness

Fulton Sheen and the time spent exercising



“It is not particularly difficult to find thousands who will spend two or three hours a day exercising, but if you ask them to bend their knees to God for five minutes of prayer, they protest that it is too long.”-Fulton Sheen

A priest friend once told me a good way to judge the balance of prayer and exercise in your life was to examine the amount if time you spend exercising and at least match that with time spent in prayer

While I’m definitely not spending hours exercising,  his reminder helps me try to strike a good balance. I have to make sure that if I’m working towards a specific fitness goal (like running a half marathon or dropping those last pesky 5 lbs) and find myself spending more time and thought on the physical, that I keep it in check and not become consumed. Being a goal driven person it is easy for me to have tunnel vision, being zeroed in on the goals I’ve put before myself. But when I realize that I’m spending an inordinate amount of time (or even thought) on the physical, I can readjust my aim so my perspective regains some balance.

How do you benchmark the balance of time spent in prayer and time spent working out?

Author: Jenn at SoulMeetsBodyFitness

Blogger and Beachbody coach at SoulMeetsBody Fitness. I want to share with you my journey of fitness and faith as I discover how intimately the soul and body are connected. It’s my hope that what I’m learning can encourage and spur you on in your own journey to a healthier life – body and soul!

9 thoughts on “Fulton Sheen and the time spent exercising

  1. This is a great post, Jenn! I feel like I could always use more exercise AND prayer in my life. I think you could also compare the balance between prayer and any number of things people do for 2-3 hours a day – myself included, unfortunately. But balance or equal time in prayer…great food for thought. Thanks for this. (Here from the CWB Facebook group thread, though I think we have a mutual friend!)

  2. Food for thought here – I personally try to balance the two by using my exercise time (generally a 1 hour walk) as prayer time as well – either listening to Christian music, or teachings (Lighthouse Catholic Media are my favorite) or praying a rosary or chaplet of Divine Mercy….

    • It’s always great to get prayer time in while exercising too, Debbie! I always wish I was one of those runners who could say the Rosary while running but I end up just saying “Hail Mary, Full of Grace…” and then losing my train of thought. C’est la vie.

  3. This is great. It’s something which has been on my mind for the last several months. Every time I go out running, I think of St. Paul and running a race…and realize that the efforts I put towards my physical strength and race should not out-do my efforts for the spiritual race.

  4. Love this entry, Jenn! I have always had trouble sitting still to pray the rosary (all of my life) but I find when I jog I can do it. I think it is different for me for these reasons: (1) I pray the Sorrowful Mysteries (b/c I don’t like running- for me it’s a sacrifice of comfort and happiness, although voluntary), and (2) for each decade I think of what Jesus went through (ex: agony in the garden– hard choices, fear, anxiety… or scourging at the pillar– embarrassment, humiliation, ridicule, physical torture) and for each Hail Mary I think of a person I know who is suffering in a similar way, and push through my voluntary discomfort or ‘suffering’ while picturing and praying for each person who does not have a choice as to how they are suffering. Some people get multiple Hail Marys. I keep track of decades on my left hand, HMs on my right. I recommend for anyone to try it. Most runs under 3 miles are just 1 decade due to distractions, but since I often train for half marathons I get plenty of long runs in, too.

    • Thanks Katie! That’s good to know that I’m not the only one that gets distracted while trying to pray a decade. I appreciate knowing that in 3 miles you only get one decade in rather than feeling like I should get more in.

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