In “Sir Galahad” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, the title character says, “My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure.”

I am convinced that physical health affects spiritual health and vice versa. The Lord would have His missionaries be as healthy as possible in order to best serve Him. Missionary work is just that: spiritual, mental, and physical work!

As a member of the Missionary Medical Committee, I am continually reviewing the physical health and medical problems of actively serving missionaries. Unfortunately, about 3 percent of LDS missionaries are sent home early due to unforeseen health issues. Let’s review several areas where appropriate preparation can mean avoiding many of the reasons why missionaries struggle physically.



Full-time missionaries must be able to walk an average of six miles per day and ride a bicycle 12 miles per day. The Missionary Handbook recommends exercising 30 minutes daily, Monday through Saturday. Avoiding fatigue and weakness helps to stave off the discouragement and rejection that come at times during missionary service. Getting off the couch and learning to put in a hard day’s work would be invaluable preparation for a mission.