John Wesley and Physical Health

Recently, I was reading articles and exchanging thoughts on John Wesley’s theology with a fellow pastor. Then I came across an interesting article online which talked about John Wesley’s teachings on physical health. As someone desperately wanting to be in a better physical shape, this article was indeed useful. You can read more at https://www.resourceumc.org/en/content/wesley-and-physical-health-practicing-what-he-preached

Apparently, John Wesley was not just passionate about preaching God’s Word and to see people accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour. He was also passionate about teaching others to be in good physical condition.

In Wesley’s home, he had a chair with several cushions stacked on top of each other. It was an exercise equipment used in the 1700s. By sitting on the cushions, one would bounce up and down to mimic the movements of riding on a horse. As a frequent horse rider who travelled long distance, John Wesley used this exercise equipment to stay in shape. May be that was why he was still very much an active circuit traveller in his 80s.  

In a letter to his niece, Sarah Wesley, John Wesley wrote that she should take as much exercise every day as she could. He even advised her to use this exercise chair for half an hour at least daily.

There was also another equipment, an electrical machine, in his house that was made of wood, glass and metal. Turning the handle would create a low-level electric current that could aid in healing benefits.

Wesley was also believed to have given tips for healthy living as follows:

  1. “Water is the wholesomest of all drinks; quickens the appetite, and strengthens the digestion most.”
  2. “A due degree of exercise is indispensably necessary to health and long life.”
  3. “Those who read or write much should learn to do it standing; otherwise it will impair their health.”

Wesley believed that our spiritual health and physical health go hand in hand. Let us be mindful of our physical health and take care of it just as we put in effort on our spiritual health.

For now, I shall start with daily exercise of 30 minutes to an hour of brisk walking, or playing sports that I enjoy in. It is a baby step, but I am sure one that will reap benefits that will last for a long time. 

How are you taking care of your physical health?

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