“I would not want you to neglect your body. It deserves daily care. Physical conditioning through regular exercise requires self-mastery too. I marvel at Elder Joseph Anderson, now in his ninety-sixth year. For decades, the strength of his spirit over his body has induced him to swim regularly. But his motivation has never been to attain physical longevity. That has come only incidentally. His desire has been to serve God and His anointed. Elder Anderson has followed what I label as the Lord’s prescription for a long and useful life. Those faithful in “magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies. They become … the elect of God.” (D&C 84:33–34.) Elder Anderson’s exercise program agrees with the perspective of Paul, who said: “Bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” (1 Tim. 4:8.) Handsome and fit, Elder Anderson personifies this scripture: “Glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Cor. 6:20.)
(Self Mastery, by Elder Russel M Nelson, General Conference Oct 1985)
“Take responsibility for your own physical well-being. Your soul consists of your body and spirit (see D&C 88:15). Feeding the spirit while neglecting the body, which is a temple, usually leads to spiritual dissonance and lowered self-esteem. If you are out of shape, if you are uncomfortable in your own body and can do something about it, then do it!”
(Approaching The Throne of God with Confidence by Elder Jörg Klebingat October 2014 General Conference; https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/approaching-the-throne-of-god-with-confidence?lang=eng)
Elder Russell M. Nelson has taught that we should “regard our body as a temple of our very own” and that we should “control our diet and exercise for physical fitness” (“We Are Children of God,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 87; Liahona, Jan. 1999, 103).”
President Boyd K. Packer has taught “that our spirit and our body are combined in such a way that our body becomes an instrument of our mind and the foundation of our character” (“The Instrument of Your Mind and the Foundation of Your Character” [Church Educational System fireside, Feb. 2, 2003], 2; speeches.byu.edu)
“please use good judgment in what and especially how much you eat, and regularly give your body the exercise it needs and deserves. If you are physically able, decide today to be the master of your own house and begin a regular, long-term exercise program, suited to your abilities, combined with a healthier diet. Spiritual confidence increases when your spirit, with the help of the Savior, is truly in charge of your natural man or woman.” (Approaching The Throne of God with Confidence by Elder Jörg Klebingat October 2014 General Conference; https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/approaching-the-throne-of-god-with-confidence?lang=eng)
“We will regard our body as a temple of our very own.24 We will not let it be desecrated or defaced in any way.25 We will control our diet and exercise for physical fitness.” (Russel M Nelson, “We are children of God”, 1998 General Conference https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1998/10/we-are-children-of-god?lang=eng)
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? … The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Corinthians 3:16–17).
“Nutritious meals, regular exercise, and appropriate sleep are necessary for a strong body, just as consistent scripture study and prayer strengthen the mind and spirit.” (Thomas S. Monson, Standards of Strength https://www.lds.org/youth/article/standards-of-strength?lang=eng&_r=1)
“I remember a blessing I received when I was serving in the military. It included counsel that’s good for every young person: “You have been given a body of such physical proportions and fitness as to enable your spirit to function through it. … You should cherish this as a great heritage. Guard [it] and protect it. Take nothing into it that shall harm the organs thereof because it is sacred. It is the instrument of your mind and [the] foundation of your character.”” (Boyd K Packer, 1996 May Ensign The Word of Wisdom: The Principle and the Promise https://www.lds.org/study/ensign/1996/05/the-word-of-wisdom-the-principle-and-the-promises?lang=eng)
“And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.” (Mosiah 4:27)
“The Lord sets a high standard for us in telling us to consider our bodies a temple. … [He] has established some basic standards for the governance of our physical bodies” and mental health so that we may become more self-reliant and better prepared to progress personally, strengthen the family, and serve in the Church and community (see L. Tom Perry, “The Tradition of a Balanced, Righteous Life,” Liahona, Aug. 2011, 32)
“Maintaining the best possible physical health has been a gospel ideal throughout the ages—from the strict dietary laws of ancient Israel, with the example of Daniel and his associates, to the Word of Wisdom in this dispensation and the counsel of today’s prophets and apostles. The physical body is a gift from God and should be properly cared for and respected. Mental health is also important and should not be overlooked, as it can affect us both physically and spiritually. We must do all we can to take care of both our bodies and our minds.”
(Topic: Health: Intro; https://www.lds.org/topics/health?lang=eng&fbclid=IwAR0NwsaZoh-iAshDxS-EUlGJkdguZNw61s9o7MilPqh8t7KJodTzxMhEnJ0) )
“Nutritious meals, regular exercise, and appropriate sleep are necessary for a strong body, just as consistent scripture study and prayer strengthen the mind and spirit” (Thomas S. Monson, “That We May Touch Heaven,” Ensign, Nov. 1990, 46)
“Rest and physical exercise are essential, and a walk in the fresh air can refresh the spirit. Wholesome recreation is part of our religion, and a change of pace is necessary, and even its anticipation can lift the spirit” (Ezra Taft Benson, “Do Not Despair,” Ensign, Nov. 1974, 66)
“The Lord has commanded members to take care of their minds and bodies. They should obey the Word of Wisdom, eat nutritious food, exercise regularly, control their weight, and get adequate sleep. They should shun substances or practices that abuse their bodies or minds and that could lead to addiction. They should practice good sanitation and hygiene and obtain adequate medical and dental care…” (Handbook 2: Administering the Church , 6.1.1)
“Exercising physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual abilities is required to not only maintain but also improve these abilities. Without exercise, these abilities diminish. Furthermore, fitness in one area can strongly influence fitness in another. For example, improving physical fitness enhances mental, emotional, and even spiritual acuity.
Specific exercises are designed to improve strength, flexibility, balance, and aerobic capacity. But every exercise must be tailored to meet a person’s individual requirements, such as age. Where weight bearing is a problem, water exercises are helpful. Chair and desk exercises are useful for those who spend long hours in a sitting position. There are many exercises and activities like these that are inexpensive and can fit the budget of almost anyone.” (Provident Living: Exercise and Health: Physical Fitness https://providentliving.lds.org/self-reliance/health/exercise-and-fitness?lang=eng&fbclid=IwAR3-IcdkMEarfJta8s6jUeXkpR2DokGr5AqZnvs-_ei0ufpJZhT9fKhdXHA)
“The Lord has commanded you to take good care of your body. To do this, observe the Word of Wisdom, found in Doctrine and Covenants 89. Eat nutritious food, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. When you do all these things, you remain free from harmful addictions and have control over your life. You gain the blessings of a healthy body, an alert mind, and the guidance of the Holy Ghost. …” (Elder L Tom Perry, October 2008 General Conference, “Let Him Do It With Simplicity” https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2008/10/let-him-do-it-with-simplicity?lang=eng)
“Your body is a temple, a gift from God. You will be blessed as you care for your body. Choose to obey the Word of Wisdom (see D&C 89). When you are obedient to this law, you remain free from harmful addictions and have control over your life. You gain the blessings of a healthy body, an alert mind, and the guidance of the Holy Ghost. You will be prepared to serve the Lord. Never let Satan or others deceive you into thinking that breaking the Word of Wisdom will make you happier, more popular, or more attractive.
To care for your body, eat nutritious food, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. Practice balance and moderation in all aspects of your physical health.” (For the Strength of Youth: Physical and Emotional Health https://www.lds.org/youth/for-the-strength-of-youth/physical-and-emotional-health?lang=eng)
Here is an excellent article from the Ensign about running 20 miles a week to lose weight, since less than that doesn’t really work. He has alternatives to running for heavier people such as swimming. He also addresses the diet cycle. He also has strategies for building up your exercise amount. “Running away from it all” 1981 https://www.lds.org/study/ensign/1981/02/running-away-from-it-all?lang=eng
Here is an excellent Ensign article on the benefits of exercising with weights. 1932 “Why Train with Weights?” by Larry Tucker, director of health promotion, Brigham Young University https://www.lds.org/study/ensign/1993/02/random-sampler/why-train-with-weights?lang=eng
-In this General Conference address titled “Myths about mental illness”, he speaks of the positive side of pharmaceuticals to treat mental illness, the great advances being made in this field of science. https://www.lds.org/study/ensign/2005/10/myths-about-mental-illness?lang=eng
-As I discussed on a mental health platform the need for exercise, a friend sent me a message about how diet and exercise were able to help her become mentally stable, leaving behind 5 psychotropic medications which doctors told her she would have to be on for life: “I radically altered my diet & exercise routine which allowed me (after 17 years of acute “treatment resistant” symptoms) to walk away from psychiatric symptoms that doctors said I’d have to be on 5 classes of medications for the rest of my life. Turns out, they were wrong. I’m so grateful that I sought out help to learn how to safely taper off meds and work to align my spirit with my body. The Lord really does guide us in finding the courage to do hard things. Withdrawal was probably the hardest thing I have EVER done in my life. I never understood how our central nervous system becomes completely dependent upon medication taken as prescribed. I never knew how many factors can contribute to/work against mental wellness. I am SO grateful I chose to take my life back.”
Hear more about her story at psychrecoveryandrehab.com. I recognize her story wouldn’t apply to all cases of medicated mental illness, but I will say that many could benefit from more closely aligning their lives with the councils of the Lord found regarding physical health. Truly things thought impossible are not impossible with the touch of the Master’s hand.
-I once spoke to a pharmacology professor about ADHD, and how many treat it with exercise. I was troubled by the long list of negative side effects of common medications used to treat this disease. Her response to me was essentially that even though exercise helps deal with the symptoms of the disease, not everyone wants to exercise. That’s it! People would rather have life threatening side effects than simply exercise. Again I recognize that there are various degrees of this illness, and that medication can be a good thing in some cases. But again, are we truly obeying the councils of the Lord to assist us in all things?