Spiritual health and active aging: A perspective by Stephanie Ludwig, MDiv, MA, PhD
Each morning 67-year-old John gets on his road bike and cycles through the northern foothills of Tucson, Arizona. Each year he gets slower, he says, but he always returns home from riding with a sweaty, relaxed, smiling face that radiates joy. John has ridden solo and with other cyclists for decades, and continues to do so because it brings him peace in body, mind and spirit as well as a sense of community. It also inspires him to be of service to others. Over the years he has found creative and meaningful ways to share his passion for cycling and bike-friendly communities through volunteerism and philanthropy. The physical, emotional and mental benefits of an active lifestyle are documented by researchers, and well known through direct experience by people like John. Far less considered are the benefits of an active lifestyle for spiritual health--especially approaching exercise and movement as spiritual practice.