Working out is not a prison sentence. It is a method of making the body more of a home and less of a prison. The stigma that is connected to exercise is that it is tedious, it is boring, it is difficult. Life, in general, can encompass these things, based on perception. Does that mean that one should not wake up and strive for better health and wellness, which is their birthright??? I think not.
How should one approach the body and the responsibility of bodily maintenance? There are the bodily senses (smell, taste, hearing, sight, touch) and mind (citta, manas, bodhi, ahamkara) and spirit. It is not the solitary physical that merits attention. One becomes a wholly, healthy, integrated person by giving attention to the complex of body / mind / spirit.
Most people forgo exercise, study, solitude due to the notion that these things cannot provide any positive effect to their well-being. That is quite incorrect. Physical exercises are of physiological benefit to the physical body. Stimulative mental engagement is of long-term benefit to the mind. Pursuing, assimilating, and embodying higher truths is efficaciously edifying to the spirit. Not in equal parts, mind you, nor in extreme degrees of intensity. To every person to develop each area as they are able to bear.
The physical body is locked to the physical senses. Sensual pleasures are enticements that rule the day for many people. Some are not even aware of their ensnarement. They plod on day to day The touch of that special someone or the feel of that special thing. The smell and taste of that great food or drink. The sound and sight of that television program. These and other things that are sensually stimulating are not bad when they are properly monitored.
There are four levels of mind: Ego, Sense perception, Memory, Discriminative thought. The body functions as a unified whole when these facets operate in a balanced, conjoined, concurrent fashion. Thoughts are more clearly focused when the mind is one. Yi Dao, Qi Dao Where the mind goes, the energy follows. In other words, what you pay attention to, grows. Paying attention is ‘otherspeak’ for focusing the mind. Focusing does not means that we stay stuck in the head. That focus must be utilized.
It is through diligent effort that the body / mind / spirit complex is transformed. The body and mind are positively affected by this transformation. One’s habits and thoughts are beneficially altered by consistent adherence to positive habit formation. This is very key as it is through the mind and body that the individual interacts with the material world. Positive effects on the mind prepare one for spiritual unfoldment. The individual is more apt to easily navigate the mundane world when the mind, unified, and the body, positively affected, proceed in a conjoined and renewed fashion.
Therefore, do not eschew exercise. Exercise is the basis for unifying body and mind. Exercise is good for the body overall. Yet, exercise has many other positive beneficial effects on the body. Deciding to exercise. Deciding to study, contemplate or to resolve deep seated issues. Deciding to meditate. Exercise can be and is a stepping-stone to higher unfoldment.
One step at a time . . . .