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Allan's TIME > Spirituality > Health > Run and Not be Weary

Run and Not Be Weary

EXERCISE is an important part of the Lord’s program – Designed to bring Fulfillment and Joy

David W. Allan
14 November 2009

The Lord said, "[Ye] shall run and not be weary..." All commandments of the Lord are given because He loves us and wants to bless us. As we live them, we show our love to Him, and in turn He blesses us both temporally and spiritually. We learn that commandments are not constraints, but are really opportunities for exaltation and to bring joy and fulfillment in this life.

This commandment from Section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants is in conjunction with the Lord’s law of health with some incredible promises – most relevant for our day:

 18 And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones; 
 19 And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; 
 20 And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint. 
 21 And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.

In another place the Lord, promises in conjunction with keeping the commandments pertaining to receiving the priesthood, that they shall be "sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies." (D&C 84:33). We learn as we study the scriptures that He wants us to be born again not only of the Spirit, but of body and mind as well. (John 3:3-5; D&C 84:45-47)

EXERCISE then is commandment with a much larger blessing than most may appreciate. He doesn’t say, "If ye shall run..." Like all the commandments, when we appreciate that they are opportunities for exaltation – blessing us here and hereafter, it gives us a very different feel. We learn to enjoy keeping the commandments because we love Him and know that He has given them for our blessing and fulfillment in time and eternity.

To all saints he gives promises, and His promises are sure, as we exercise, keep all the commandments, and live the Lord’s law of health we will enjoy His wisdom, His hidden treasures (mysteries of Godliness), "treasures of knowledge," which are the truths of eternity, and we will be protected from the latter-day plagues. This is how we can be like the children of Israel at the first "Passover" when they painted blood over the lintel and on the side posts to keep the destroying angel away. What great joy, love, and peace comes into our hearts as these blessings shower down upon our heads as the Lord protects us from these plagues. This is the opposite of dis-ease.

That does not mean the Lord cannot use disease to teach important lessons to us as he did with Job, But throughout history, we have seen that the Lord greatly blesses those who chose to bask in his love by following Him and living His teachings with joy and rejoicing. They are blessed in all ways in and in all things. He said, "I came that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)

It is good to keep this "abundant life" perspective as we go through the information below; "for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life." (2 Cor. 3:6) In contrast to the abundant life, the Lord says that the Word of Wisdom was given "In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation." This revelation was given so that Satan and his minions would "pass over" you, and keep you from disease and death. Satan’s designs are the opposite of the abundant life.

To better understand how exercise can benefit us, let us now look from a secular point of view: 

What are the different kinds of exercise and what are there benefits

Exercises can be categorized as aerobic (with oxygen) or anaerobic (without oxygen). To perform their function, muscles have three sources of energy. Two of them are chemical (anaerobic) and one is oxygen (aerobic). A sustained runner, as he or she is breathing hard, is a good example of an aerobic exercise sustained by oxygen. The two chemical processes are called a "spirt" and a "kick" by some. There are chemicals stored in the muscles that provide these sources of energy. A good example of a spirt is a person running a short sprint; there is not time for oxygen to come in and sustain the muscles, and so chemicals are there to do the quick "spirt" work. The first chemical process sustains until the aerobic process takes over. Then the second chemical process can come in when the person desires to exert beyond what the oxygen capacity can do. This would be like a runner doing a mile, and then at the end sprinting across the finish line; that is why it is called a "kick." An adrenalin rush to get out of harms way is similar. The two chemical processes produce some significant ash as they burn and produce energy. It is this ash that can cause cramping and "Charlie horses." Rubbing the muscles down – like squeezing a sponge – can push this ash out of the muscles so that the body can carry it away. This is best done while the muscles are still warm from exercising to avoid this problem. Anaerobic exercise can also be very helpful like: weight lifting, muscle building, agility development. These are sometimes categorized as isometric (muscles working against muscles with no body movement – like clinching one’s fist or pushing against the wall) or isotonic (the muscles move with the same tension on them – like push ups or chin ups, weight lifting, etc.) Older people can do these anaerobic exercises with significant benefit, if they cannot walk or do aerobic exercises.

Documented benefits of exercise:

contributes positively to maintaining a healthy weight,
building and maintaining healthy bone density,
muscle strength, 
joint mobility, 
promoting physiological well-being, 
reducing surgical risks, 
strengthening the immune system,
reduces levels of cortisol, thereby benefitting health. Cortisol is a stress hormone that builds fat in the abdominal region, making weight loss difficult. Cortisol causes many health problems, both physically and mentally, Excess cortisol kills neurons in the brain.
helps prevent or treat serious and life-threatening chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, insomnia, and depression,
Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise work to increase the mechanical efficiency of the heart by increasing cardiac volume (aerobic exercise), or myocardial thickness (strength training).
beneficial to the brain by:
- increasing the blood and oxygen flow to the brain 
- increasing growth factors that help create new nerve cells
- promote synaptic plasticity
- increases chemicals in the brain that help cognition, such as dopamine, glutamate, norepinephrine, and serotonin

The above speak only of the physiological benefits, but the spiritual benefits can be enormous as well as we may commune with our Maker as we participate in our exercise activities.


Exercise has become for me a spiritual experience – like in the movie Chariots of Fire, "I run for Him," as you will see below. I desire to serve the Lord with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. I can only do that best if I am physically fit, mentally fit, and spiritually fit. Working on fitness in all three areas on a daily basis helps me greatly to fulfill that desire. He wants me to serve Him by using my time and talents to bring about His work, which is the immortality and eternal life of His children.

Being raised on a farm in Mapleton, Utah, work was a part of my upbringing, and physical fitness came with the turf. Also, I loved to hike and ride a bike as a youngster and still do. I added skiing to my recreational activities at a young age. That has turned into cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing with my Sweetheart – even though we are now 73 years old (young)!

One cannot have good physical fitness without feeding the body properly:  

and by persistently doing exercises that you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy exercise, it is hard to persist. I used to enjoy riding my bike with friends all over Mapleton. Then, the roads were mostly gravel or dirt, and up in the area of our dryland farm, they were steep. More than once, I would be pumping so hard that I would break a peddle off when going up a hill, and Dad would weld it back on for me.

One time a group of us were riding down a rough and steep road. I lost control with all the bumps and went "head over teakettle." When the dust settled, I had broken off the left handle bar and left peddle. Since the peddle had been welded too many times, it would not take another weld and have any strength, so I rode my bike for about a year that way – holding the stub of the handle bar with my left hand and by hooking my toe under the crank to bring it over the top of its cycle so that I could push down and bring up the good peddle for my right foot to push down.

I saved my pennies and nickels and bought a Raleigh single (that is all they had back then) speed racing (skinny tires) bike. As part of the 24th of July celebration, Mapleton had a bike race. It was from the "White Church" west to Freeman Bird’s corner, south to Uncle Ira’s corner, east to Larry Bird’s corner, then back north to the "White Church" (three miles). I not only won it, I could hardly see the next person behind me as I went across the finish line. Those roads were then paved, which was perfect for my Raleigh racing bike.

I used to race against myself up around the dryland road – going south from Uncle Ira’s up around the road that went through our farm to the canal road, and then coming back along the canal road and down to Larry Bird’s corner and then back to our home on the hill at 395 W. 1600 S. Then, 1600 South was the only paved part. I got my time down to 11 minutes for that loop, which was about 3½ miles long. So, I was "smoking" around that rough road on the canal bank at an average speed of about 20 miles an hour.

When we got married, we were poor, so I rode my bike to BYU every day with my three speed Stermey-Archer – very clever planetary gear shifting mechanism. I’ve taken them apart and put them back together: When we moved to Boulder, CO, I upgraded to a Schwinn 10-speed road-bike, and rode it back and forth to work morning, noon, and after work – until we built our home out in the country in 1968. Then I started jogging before work each morning. I ran in the 10k Bolder-Boulder about every year – a real social experience. Often, several members of the family would run, and that was fun. The first year Nathan ran, he took first place in the six-year-old category with his dad holding his hand much of the way – great father-son bonding experience!

When we retired in 1992 and moved back to Utah, I bought my first mountain bike (21-speed GT). That was a real step-up for me, and I was impressed with that technology. Sterling (our oldest son), Nathan (our youngest son), and I rode "Slick Rock" at Moab together – what an incredible 12 mile ride, both in scenery and challenge.

I give a lecture every year as part of the NIST Time and Frequency, annual seminar, and I typically use the honorarium from that to buy something for physical fitness. Five years ago, I upgraded from my GT to a 27-speed Diamond-back. I broke the frame on it this summer, so I upgraded to a Specialized 27-speed Stump-jumper, which is lighter and amazingly more efficient. I would not have believed there could be that much improvement in the technology. Last year, I bought a recumbent bicycle. Learning to ride one of them is like learning how to ride a bike all over again. They are very unstable at low speeds, but they hold the world’s record for the fastest man-powered vehicle. The current record is 132.47 km/h (82.33 mph), set by Sam Whittingham of Canada in using a fully faired Varna Diablo front-wheel-drive recumbent lowracer bicycle designed by George Georgiev. He had five miles to build up to this speed and then sustain it over a 200 meter stretch. This occurred at Battle Mountain, NV in 2008.

We have wonderful places to ride mountain bikes in the Fountain Green area. I feel so blessed to be able to ride in this area, which I do almost daily. Great places to pray up there in the hills. During the Spring, Summer, and Fall I typically go to the post and then up to the mouth of Pole Canyon, then over to the Big Spring along a deer trail, which is a real tricky ride. The distance is about 6 miles and the elevation change is about 800 feet. The ride up Pole Canyon is spectacular, which goes back into the mountains about a mile and with an elevation change of nearly 2,000 feet from downtown Fountain Green to the end of the trail.

Bicycling, jogging, hiking, walking, skiing, and snowshoeing, which my wife and I enjoy doing together, are primarily aerobic exercises. It is good to add some anaerobic exercises as well. I have combined several from different modalities that I have learned over the years, and I have been able to sustain these with significant benefit. Having suffered a lower back injury several years ago, I was delighted to find a book that tells how to rebuild the back. After reading it, applying its guidelines for healing, and receiving direct benefits over time, I felt to write the author and thank him for his very significant blessing to my life. I enclose this letter below:

Healing My Back Pain

Dear Dr. Batmanghelidj, 26 February 2003

I would like to thank you and share with you the significant progress I have enjoyed in the healing of my back. While reading your book, Your Body's Many Cries for Water, I learned of your other book, How to Deal With Back Pain and Rheumatoid Joint Pain. Following your suggested exercises - plus a few of my own - and drinking the amount of water you suggest as well, I am pleased to report that I have enjoyed much more strength and a lot less pain in my back.

I had a back injury well over twenty years ago, while helping to lift a piano for a friend. It seems that one of the disks in my lower back was crushed or badly damaged. It had gotten progressively worse over the years to a point a couple of years ago when it would go into spasms - rendering me unable to walk. The pain was excruciating. This would usually be triggered by a slight amount of lifting - especially front on. If I bent over and lifted something much over 10 pounds, I would be in trouble for some days.

Upon starting your suggested back exercise program about a year and a half ago, I saw slow but consistent progress. Last summer was the acid test. Ten and a-half years ago, I retired as an atomic clock researcher in Boulder, Colorado, and bought a farm in central Utah - near my home town and family. My wife and I have pretty much had others run the farm until this last summer, but circumstances arose that we needed to run it. This included moving 40 feet long irrigation pipes, baling and hauling three crops of hay. The farm is not big enough to be modernized, so my sons and I with some hired help were hand lifting 90 pound bales of hay up on a truck and hay wagon - with hay leaves down my sweating neck and back. We had to also lift them into the hay barn - harvesting well over a thousand bales. Having been raised on a farm, I have never minded hard work and this was hard.

There is no way that I could have done that the year before, and it actually felt good to be able to do this hard work. I have always tried to keep myself in good physical condition, but some years ago I had to even stop jogging because it hurt my back too much. Now I can also run again without serious pain. Considering, also that I am 66 years old, I feel that the whole thing is pretty remarkable, and I thank you for the tremendous assist in my recovery. I am far from all the way better, but the trend is right and my back is getting stronger all the time. This morning and yesterday I shoveled about a foot of snow off of our walk with no significant back pain. I haven't been able to do that for years.

You suggested extra weights on the feet as one does the back exercises. I just wear shoes and have a three pound weight in each hand to strengthen my upper body while I am at it. The extra exercises that I do in addition to yours are all toward strengthening the back muscles and for general cardiovascular and lymph system circulation improvement. These include: 1) laying on each side and doing scissors with my free arm and leg in circular motion as well as up and down; 2) sit ups and leg lifts while lying on my back; 3) push ups from the knees and the toes with particular emphasis on flexing and using the lower back muscles - activating the osmotic pumping of water action as you suggest for the lower back; 3) jumping jacks, touching the floor with the weights in my hands, and cross touching the right hand to the left foot while straddled, and visa versa; 4) doing a variety of jumping exercises on a re-bounder, which is excellent for the lymph system circulation; and 5) then a variety of stretching exercises to keep the whole body limber. I add to these walking with my wife, cross country skiing, mountain bike riding every day when the weather permits. We can usually do one of these most days of the year.

It feels so good to feel good. Life has been really good to me, and good health allows me to better serve and do those things that I feel are most important. I love to express my gratitude by serving, and you can't do that very well laying on your back in pain. Thanks again for helping so significantly to take that pain away. I was so impressed with your first book, that I did a book report and have it posted on my web site: Your second book is saving my back. My wife has found significant benefit from your water cure as well.

Gratefully yours,

David W. Allan, President
Allan's TIME, Inc.


I now use five-pound weights in each hand as I do the above exercises and have additional exercises as well – including Dr. Weil’s deep breathing, which is very valuable and simple. Utilizing Newton’s second law, F = ma, the ten pounds are multiplied by the amount of acceleration of these weights, and as I swing them back and forth in all kinds of directions I also squeeze them (isometric exercise). I use these during my half-hour work-out to maximize the benefit that can come from the Second Law for broad spectrum muscle tone enhancement for the upper body. One does not need an expensive set of weights or a gym membership to do meaningful and enjoyable exercise. If you don't enjoy it, you wont do it. I listen to the Book of Mormon in French while I am doing these exercises, which helps me spiritually and mentally. I have gone through the Book of Mormon probably about a dozen times since our French speaking mission in Cote d’Ivoire West Africa in 1997-1999.

My heart is full of gratitude to the Lord for the enormous and uncountable blessings that have come into my life as I have come to know Him and partake of His love. We learn from D&C 93:39 that Satan takes away "light and truth" through disobedience and [false] traditions. I have learned to examine every tradition that comes my way in "light and truth," which has lead to many great blessings in my life: in body, mind, and spirit. You will see many of these documented in the health and religious writings section of our web site: In terms of being born-again of body, the Lord has helped me reverse about a dozen significant health challenges that I have had – for which I am extremely grateful – documented here:  

In Summary

We live in an exciting time as we anticipate the return of our Lord and Savior. Satan is subtle and working harder than ever to divert people from preparing for our Savior’s glorious millennial reign. Satan’s attack is on our bodies, minds, and spirits. As we do everything with an eye single to His glory, we need to have our eyes wide open to the wiles of the Adversary, so that we are not deceived by him, as he tries to destroy our bodies, corrupt our minds, and desensitize our spirits.

When we consider the awesome size and rapid growth of the forces of evil, we may move into fear and doubt that we can do anything, which is exactly what Satan wants. We should never lose hope, as the servant of Elisha asked, when the Syrian hosts were upon them, "How shall we do?" Elisha answered, "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." (2 Kings 6:16-17.) A great story in this regard is told by Immaculée Ilibagiza – a survivor of the Rwandan holocaust with three extremely important messages for us today:  

Demographically, there are about 10:1 righteous on the other side of the veil – wanting to serve us, help us, and guide us in all things what we should do (2 Nephi 32:3-5) as we move through this purging time as the Bride (a Zion society) is prepared to meet the Bridegroom at His Coming. When society falls apart, I desire to "hit the ground running" so that I may be of help to those around me. The gathering of the elect is a glorious time and is the process of pulling them out from among the wicked – to gather to Zion. The wicked will destroy the wicked (D&C 63:33), while this gathering takes place. If we are physically, mentally, and spiritually fit, we can best help Lord in His "great day." We will then see how enormously worth it it was to be one with Him in body, mind, and spirit, in bringing about his great and eternal purposes in time and in eternity.

See also:

Health, Diet, and Compassionate Eating Habits (Index)

Page posted by SDA Nov. 14, 2009
Last updated November 15, 2009




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