What Is Fitness Anyway?

I talk a lot on this blog about improving fitness. Get fit, look fit, feel fit, be fit. But what does this really mean?

First and foremost fitness is not a single concept. It can and does mean different things to different people. Sumo wrestlers are fit to fight short intense bouts, endurance runners are fit to cover great distances, both are hopelessly unfit to compete in the others arena.

This makes fitness quite hard to define. Personally I would describe it as something like this;

Being physically capable of pursuing the lifestyle you want to live

Naturally this definition opens up a huge array of possibilities. Some people will want to be fit to play a particular sport, others will want to be fit to enjoy a particular activity, others will want to be fit to play with their kids, others will want to be fit so they can do their jobs. Others will want all of the above and more.

Despite popular opinion fitness and health are not the same thing. They often coexist, they can influence each other but one does not equal the other. You can be really fit and very unhealthy! Just look at incredibly strong powerlifters who need their joints replaced by the age of forty. Or serious endurance athletes who suffer from cardiac arrests and chronic inflammation.

For the majority of us developing a broad base of physical capabilities such as strength, stamina and flexibility (without pushing any one capability to the extreme) seems to be a sensible way forwards. This type of approach creates an all-purpose level of fitness without sacrificing health in the process.

Want to play some football with your friends? No problem. Need to sprint for the train? Easy. Got to move some heavy furniture? Job done. Invited on a skiing trip? Hell yeah.

So to wrap this blog post up ask yourself this...

Do I ever feel limited by my body’s strength, stamina or flexibility?

If so you need to improve your fitness. If not, you are already fit.