What is fitness and what is health? The beginning...
What a great and very difficult to answer question, a question that probably is not asked as much as it should be.
As someone who works in the fitness industry and owns two businesses that are completely based around getting people fitter, stronger and healthier it would be remiss if I did not have it in my mind on a regular occasion. I think it is pretty important to attempt to come up with some form of definition or explanation for the lay person as to what I believe fitness is.
Without this, we really have no direction or idea as to what we are doing when we step inside the gym. Wether that be your local leisure centre, a Crossfit gym or a local bootcamp.
In my upcoming blog posts I will be delving more deeply into the different aspects of fitness and health.
A quick search in the dictionary comes up with the following definitions of fitness as...
- The condition of being physically fit and healthy
- The quality of being suitable to fulfil a particular role or task
These make sense and are good starting points. I think that for me, fitness totally depends on the perspective of the person we are speaking too, and that actually that the first definition above is too vague. Being physically fit and healthy will mean different things to different people depending on their goals and lifestyle.
We should not confuse fitness with health.
Health is described in the dictionary as ‘the state of being free from illness (mental or physical) or injury’. This is something that in my opinion all humans should be striving for and almost all of us want on some level, attaining health would almost always involve some form of exercise for an individual.
In todays society, so many people have slipped so far from health and therefore end up falling into the trap of extreme exercise and diet regimes to achieve better health and/or body composition...in this they often end up losing sight of long term health in the pursuit of better body composition. This for me is the common common theme that I see day in, day out. Which is only exacerbated by social media outlets awash with quick fix bodies and success stories, pictures of unbelievably jacked guys and girls with ‘perfect’ bodies.
The reality is that these images are so so hard to attain and sustain for most people, but no matter what, our subconscious is bombarded with the fact that to be more attractive and reach our potential we should look like them. Leading to a nasty spiral where actual health and/or fitness is left by the wayside as people become frustrated with a lack of success and become more and more harsh on themselves.
* As a side note I really believe that we should all be exploring our own self worth and how strongly it is connected to our physical bodies and how we look.
For us to be free of illness and injury (health) we must be smart with our exercise, and if you have spent the last 40 years of your life becoming ‘sick’ then do not expect to become (and look) healthy again in 6 months. If that does happen, then I am afraid it is probably doing a fair bit of damage to you, and also is probably going to be unsustainable.
Fitness on the other hand is something more than just health (sometimes it is the opposite of health) and to me is an objective attained by exercising in a particular way, often prescribed by someone else (if you are smart), to achieve those objectives. Fitness, like health, will not be built by fast tracking yourself or skipping the basics.
In future blogs I will be delving further into the rabbit hole of fitness and health. How to build it and where the pitfalls lie...