Connecting Faith with Exercise

. April 2, 2018.
Karin Johnson, Christian Fitness Instructor
Karin Johnson, Christian Fitness Instructor

Rarely are the words “faith” and “exercise” uttered in the same sentence, except, perhaps,  when asking “how faithfully am I keeping my exercise goals?”

Karin Johnson regularly talks about the connection between the two. The certified fitness instructor teaches two exercise programs for women who want to grow their faith while getting their body in shape.

“There is a powerful connection between a person’s physical health and spiritual health,” she said. “When we are in good health, we can do so much more to serve (God).”

Two class offerings

Johnson teaches Walk15 and WholyFit classes twice a week at local churches. Walk15 provides a cardio workout that isn’t too complicated or intense. Based on four simple moves—walk in place, sidesteps, kicks and knee lifts—class participants complete two miles in 30 minutes with added strength training and stretching. Karin plays Christian music and includes scripture, prayer and encouragement in the workout.

WholyFit is a “Christian alternative to yoga,” says Johnson. The exercise program focuses on strength, flexibility and balance and combines movements that are similar to yoga, dance, Tai Chi and Pilates. Every class is centered on a scripture passage. “We pray before and after class, and we move to the words of scripture, which helps with memorization,” she explained.

Johnson, who worked in the cosmetology industry for 30 years, has seen the effects of aging of the skin and body reduced through exercise and healthy living. Becoming a fitness instructor was a natural step for her. As she personally aged and her metabolism slowed, she became committed to burning calories and strengthening her muscles,  inspiring her to share her fitness program with others.

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Fee of goodwill

Johnson doesn’t charge a fee for her exercise classes, but she provides the opportunity for class members to make a goodwill offering each class. Any money that is collected is shared with the hosting church and used for music, exercise equipment and further training and certification. Three or four times a year, she and her class participants sponsor a special offering to support a non-profit. They have collected canned goods for City Mission, raised funds for Hope House and Women’s Resource Center and purchased bibles for the international group Voice of the Martyr.

Johnson and her regulars have forged a strong bond of community. “We pray for each other and we support each other,” she said. “I’ve developed some of my dearest friendships through these classes.”

Grateful balance

Johnson’s exercise classes are her ministry, and she’s grateful for the chance to help women achieve a balance with their physical and spiritual selves. “I love making people feel better,” she said. “My hope is that I’ve created a space of connection, refuge and encouragement. When people tell me that they can’t wait to come to my class, I am so humbled. I never tire of hearing those words.”

Johnson and her husband, Mike, have two adult children and several “furry children” including two rescue greyhounds and three rescue cats.

What skincare tip can you offer?
Stay out of the sun. That is the big one.

What about an exercise tip?
Just do it, just move. Get off the chair and go outside and walk. Keep a pair of tennis shoes in your car and if you have a break at work, walk around the building. Take advantage of every opportunity to be active. Every minute counts.

What music do you like to work out to?
TobyMac—his music gets you going. If you have to clean your house, put on TobyMac and you will get your house cleaned in no time.

Where is your favorite place to walk in Findlay?
I love to walk with my dogs in my neighborhood in the Country Club/Fox Run area. I love the sidewalks, the trees, the houses and the friendly neighbors.

For more information about her classes, call 419-957-3117 or email karinjohnson65@att.net.