Health and fitness allow missionaries to serve effectively no matter their call. Nurture the body as a divine gift by preparing it for the service of God.
With the recent expansion of the missionary program, not all missionaries will be expected to meet the physical demands of a full-time proselyting mission. Rely on the support and advice of medical professionals. Review with your doctor what can be done to improve diet, build strength, and increase stamina until your call is received and after your report date.
Review your nutrition and gradually introduce changes. Review your doctors’ suggestions and the Word of Wisdom for direction on types of foods to increase in your diet and which to reduce. Changes to diet and activity level are some of the most difficult, and sudden big changes can have big results at first. The first signs of improved health, however, often level off or even cease to endure without a consistent plan and support to stay on track.
For those preparing missionaries who have been counseled to lose weight, drastic changes all at once often do more harm than good. Stick to medical advice and be aware of major warning signs of malnutrition or physical damage from overdoing your efforts as recovery can set back progress further than any weight loss can improve your health. Pray and seek the Lord’s direction as continued improvement will require the help and support of the Spirit.
Strength training, whether with weights or resistance, improves muscle and joint health when done right, and encourages higher quality sleep. This aspect of exercise should not be overdone. Gradually build your workout schedule with days of rest between major muscle groups. Research available programs that use minimal equipment and don’t demand a lot of time as exercise is an aid to, not a focus of, serving a mission.
Missions are best known for testing endurance and demanding constant activity. This holds true for all missions. Time on the mission is not your own. To prepare for full days and packed schedules, work as much activity into each day as possible, planning limited downtime and incorporating productive activity or service opportunities where available. Work up to full days without caffeine or other stimulants. Steady activity, built up over time, encourages higher energy throughout the day.