Personal trainer shares how to pray rosary, work out at same time
By Julie Filby
“The Rosary Workout” by Peggy Bowes outlines more than 100 workouts, for beginners to seasoned athletes, which can be accomplished while praying the rosary.
October is the month of the rosary.
When it comes to staying healthy, one can benefit from picking up running shoes—or a rosary.
Studies have shown therapeutic value, in regard to physical health and wellbeing, in prayer and meditation. Specifically, the rhythmic formula of praying the rosary can promote slow, deep regular breathing, according to a 2001 study published in the British Medical Journal, thus contributing to cardiovascular health.
The cyclical pattern of the rosary can also be an ideal complement to a workout.
“The combination of the rhythm of the repeated Hail Mary’s and the rhythm of the exercise pace help clear the mind to focus on meditation,” said Peggy Bowes, author of “The Rosary Workout,” in a phone interview with the Denver Catholic Register from her North Carolina home. “It’s a skill that does take practice, but once mastered, leads to greater spiritual revelation.”
Bowes—a certified personal trainer, weight-loss counselor, wife, mother of two and former Air Force pilot—grew up praying the rosary, and as an adult often prayed it while exercising.
“I found the rhythm of the exercise cleared my head,” she said. “And actually enhanced my prayer and meditation.”
While out for a run a few years ago, she incorporated the rosary into her interval training.
“The rosary can be prayed while you walk, hike, run, swim, bike, or any other sport that involves rhythmic movement,” she suggested. “It takes about 20 minutes to pray a rosary, which happens to be the minimum amount of time experts recommend for physical activity.”
In “The Rosary Workout” (2010; eBook, Bezalel Books, $22.95) she outlines more than 100 different workouts, for beginners to seasoned athletes, which can be accomplished while praying the rosary. Those new to exercise may consider starting with a decade or two and gradually working up.
The same holds true for anyone new to praying the rosary, whether during a workout or otherwise.
The Rosary Workout
Author: Peggy Bowes
Cost: $9.95 eBook
See author: On “The Catholic View for Women,” on EWTN, airing 9 p.m. Nov. 7 or 8 a.m. Nov. 9
“I always recommend starting with just one decade a day,” she said. “The ‘soul’ of the rosary is meditating on the 20 mysteries, or events, in the lives of Jesus and Mary … starting with one decade at a time, you can take quiet time during your day to focus on just one mystery.”
Distractions can be a challenge when praying.
“I get distracted … sometimes I’ll find myself ‘meditating’ on what I’m making for dinner that night,” she admitted. “It’s just our fallen nature to be easily interrupted during prayer.
“If you find yourself getting too distracted while trying to pray a five-decade rosary, cut back to just one or two decades and really discipline yourself to focus on the meditation.”
She also suggested praying a rosary outside “in nature’s beauty” can help raise awareness of the “greatness of God” and improve focus.
For more about “The Rosary Workout” visit www.rosaryworkout.com, or watch Bowes on EWTN’s “The Catholic View for Women,” airing 9 p.m. Nov. 7 or 8 a.m. Nov. 9.