Flexibility, in way of warming up to a full-blown workout and stretching the muscles to elongate and preserve them, completes the triad of exercise.

Diet and exercise go hand-in-hand. Together, they provide the key to a healthier, longer life.

Most of the fitness professionals interviewed for this article recommend 30 minutes of activity at least four times per week. And, of course, they say you should always consult your doctor before beginning any new diet or fitness program.

Remembering body and soul

Once the church realizes the power of good health and the witness it provides to the world—not to mention the benefits it provides to Christians—we will be on our way to revolutionizing our neighborhoods, cities, country, and world, says Jordan Rubin.

"I believe the power of helping one person change their health is unbelievable," he adds, "especially a believer, because they will be able to impact thousands, if not millions of people."

All the Christian fitness experts agree especially on this one thing: When we line up our appetites and habits with the Word of God, we will naturally reap the health benefits. And this means a total lifestyle change, not jumping after the latest fad.

"It's presently popular to be 'non-judgmental' and to avoid stamping self-destructive behaviors with moral labels," writes theologian J. Raymond Albrektson in The Plain Truth magazine. "But unless we recognize over-eating as a moral failure, traditionally known as gluttony, we remain helpless to enlist [God's power]. Just as every alcoholic takes the first step toward recovery when he looks squarely in the mirror and says, 'I am an alcoholic,' we need to take a good look at ourselves and admit, 'I eat too much.'"

Changing our habits may not be easy, but God, through His Holy Spirit, can empower us with the discipline necessary to be set apart from the world in our health. But that separation can only come through a consistent practice of healthy eating and exercise.

"Our bodies hate change," Nowak says, "so whatever you stick to most consistently, that's where your body will go. If you are consistently being active and fit and eating fruits and vegetables, then having sweets occasionally is fine. But the problem is, people go the other way around. They are consistently sedentary, consistently overeating, consistently turning to food for emotional comfort, and occasionally they'll go for a walk for a few weeks. But our bodies go back to whatever we're most consistent with."

Nowak continues: "The same thing is true with our spiritual walk. If you occasionally read the Bible, occasionally go to church, but are more consistently hanging out with people who are drawing you away from the Lord, your spiritual walk will reflect that.

"If we were to practice in our spiritual walk what we do in our bodies, it would be a joke. So why do we continue such poor habits in our physical walk?"

Randy Robison is a writer based in Fort Worth, Texas.RESTORING THE TEMPLE: 6 Keys to Losing the Weight

So where should you begin when you finally desire to take better care of your body? Try these tips.

1. Pray

for self-control in the area of eating and drinking. You can pray with confidence because God desires to give you self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).

2. Confess

your failure to God when you overindulge, just as you would any other sin-with humbleness, repentance, and with the knowledge that God will forgive (Ps. 86:5).

3. Realize

that our culture's concept of the "ideal body" (i.e., unnaturally trim models and actors) is often detached from reality. God made our bodies all different shapes and sizes, and it pleases Him! Starving our bodies isn't any better than gorging them. The goal should be maintaining a healthy, fit lifestyle.