Spirituality as a motivation to get fit

As we commence the New Year, with our get-healthy New Year’s resolutions in tow, it’s perhaps appropriate that one of altMuslimah’s latest feature pieces is an interview with Zainab Ismail, the Vice President of Nadoona.

Nadoona is a U.S.-based health and fitness movement that is geared toward helping Muslim women become healthier. During a separate conversation I had with Zainab recently, she mentioned that one of the things that makes her exercise DVD unique is that it incorporates Islam-based motivation—participants begin by invoking the name of God and throughout the workout, particularly when it starts to get challenging, Zainab uses Islamic terms to remind participants that striving for good health is part of their service to God.

Spirituality as a motivation to get fit—a brilliant idea! Other workout gurus admonish their female participants to stay motivated by focusing on the body they want—to envision themselves on the beach in their new bikini. So much of health and beauty tips are marketed as a way of enabling us to show off and fit accepted cultural norms of beauty. But health as a way of serving God and respecting what He has given us: THAT is a new, fresh approach.

And it’s an approach I can embrace. Having kick started my health regimen a few months prior to the New Year, what’s kept me going is appreciating the inherent value of nutrient-rich foods—greens and beans, primarily—that also happen to be all-natural and non-processed. God gave us in nature what we need to be our best selves. Written on those leaves (those wonderful greens) is the message: connect with the earth in finding your sustenance, be aware of everything you put in your body, and remember always that this is not a choice but your duty to your Creator to care for your body in the most perfect way.

Happy New Years!

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