*** DEBUG END ***

How the clergy can look after their temples

13 October 2010


From the Revd Dr John Searle

Sir, — The Bishop of Wakefield’s response (17 September) to Dr Huw Morgan’s letter (10 September) about the importance of regular medical check-ups for the clergy is to be welcomed. It is, however, also important that the clergy take responsibility for their own health and well-being.

The clergy, too, are caught up in the present epidemic of sedentary disease which is sweeping the Western world. Genetically, human health is predicated on movement and activity. The rising tide of obesity, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, strokes, dementia, and depression is because most of us are inactive. Furthermore, there is increasing evidence that this is also a factor in certain types of cancer. The risk of all these diseases can be significantly reduced by exercise.

The question is how much exercise. The Chief Medical Officer for England and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. Moderate-intensity exercise is sufficient to make us out of breath but able to continue to talk in complete sentences. This is achieved by brisk walking, jogging, cycling, and many sports. The greater the intensity of the exercise, the greater the benefit. So it is good to work up to a level of breathlessness where it is difficult to complete a sentence.

It is also important to do some strength training and flexibility exercises two or three times a week, particularly as our muscle strength declines as we get older, leading to falls with loss of balance and co-ordination. Regular exercise at these levels increases energy levels and work efficiency.

I was a doctor for 30 years before I was ordained to work as a self-supporting minister. I am a qualified personal trainer, and have seen over and over again the huge benefits that regular exercise has brought to people, some of whom are ministers. And maybe there is a theological imperative here also. If our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, ought we not to look after them?

Belle Isle Lodge
Belle Isle Drive
Exeter EX2 4RY

Letters to the editor

Letters for publication should be sent to letters@churchtimes.co.uk.

Letters should be exclusive to the Church Times, and include a full postal address. Your name and address will appear alongside your letter.

Forthcoming Events

6-7 September 2022
Preaching as Pilgrimage conference
From the College of Preachers.

27-28 September 2022
humbler church Bigger God conference
The HeartEdge Conference in Manchester includes the Theology Slam Live Final.

More events

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four* articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)

*Until the end of June: we’re doubling the number of free articles to eight, to celebrate the publication of our Platinum Jubilee double issue.