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Adapting a Fitness Routine Leads to Renewal

What do you do when life throws you a curveball? After her training partner became ill, Pastor Beth Birkholz found wellness and healing in trying something new.

Pastor Beth Birkholz
Marietta, GA
May 2015

In the past few years, I have truly come to appreciate the importance of wellness of mind, body, and spirit.

I have been a runner since I was 22, and have even written articles about running, led a "running Bible study" at my church, and completed two marathons as well as dozens of other races. I started running because my dad died of heart disease when he was only 51, and I wanted to do everything I could to be healthy for as long as possible.

But as I've gotten older (my "big" birthday, the dreaded 4-0, is this summer), my experiences have shown me that you can't always prevent illnesses from happening. I was diagnosed with thyroid disease, and had surgery. I found out I had multiple food allergies, and changed my diet completely.

Then last year, my running buddy of many years had trouble on a run one day. She discovered it was caused by a brain tumor. Though she had emergency surgery, her family wasn’t sure that she would make it through the week. Suddenly, running was the last thing I wanted to do. Since she couldn’t run, I didn’t want to either.

I spent almost a year not running, or not running very much. I found some solace in yoga, and over the course of the year became a certified yoga teacher. Yet though I find yoga healing and wonderful, I still missed running.

Thankfully, this story has a good ending. My running buddy ended her chemo treatments earlier this spring. After she was well enough to go for walks, she started to jog, and miraculously, we have begun to run together again.

While she was still recovering, I signed up for some trail races to do something different, and fell in love with running through the woods. That has become a new part of my wellness "regimen" that gives me a nature fix as well as the satisfying feeling of running a good distance.

All this has taught me that when circumstances throw curve balls — and they totally will — wellness and healing are still there to be found. We can always pray and ask God for guidance on how God wants our lives to be the best that they can be each day. We can be willing to try something new in our quest to be well. My mother is embracing chair yoga and water aerobics in her 60s; my father-in-law now swims every day. And most importantly, we can be grateful for the time we have to enjoy the wellness and healing God gives.

Pastor Beth Birkholz
Beth finishing a trail race this spring.

Striving for health and wellness — and leading others to do the same — has been a hallmark of Pastor Beth Birkholz's ministry. Read her 2010 Wellness Voice about how she started a running-and-Bible-study group in her congregation.

email Share your Wellness Voice at livewell@porticobenefits.org

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