Maybe it was your own idea to begin exercising (again). Maybe your doctor advised you to exercise. Either way, you’ve made what you hope to be a sacred commitment, a commitment to a full and healthy life. You’re going to keep that commitment today, and the next day, and the next…
Blessed are You who guides us in our path.
Each extra step on the treadmill or the Stairmaster, each lap in the pool or around the track, each turn of the pedal, each lift of the weights, each stretch of muscles long out of use…in each bead of sweat and panting breath I praise You – with all my bones – for allowing my body to affirm life. Teach me discipline, encourage me to take good care of the body You have given me.
(Each time you begin to work out) Blessed are You who has created the human body in wisdom.
(As you begin this new training program) Blessed are You who girds me with strength.
Not as much as the synagogue or house of study, perhaps, the gym is nevertheless also a place for the pursuit of the holy. God has given us bodies to keep and use, and the good that our bodies can do will be brought about only if we work to keep them healthy. Thus it is our responsibility, to the extent possible, to stay in shape. Saying a brakhah before getting on the treadmill would be fully appropriate. (National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership Faculty)— Rabbi Irwin Kula, editor, Vanessa L. Ochs, editor in The Book of Jewish Sacred Practices