If you asked yourself this simple three word question, what would be your answer?
What fitness means to you would probably be relevant to the current challenges you are facing in everyday life. Popular answers to this question are:
• to lose some weight
• to deal better with stress
• to tone up
• to be able to play a sport
• to reduce blood pressure
• to walk up the stairs
• to reduce lower back pain
• to play with your children
The response given to the ‘what is fitness’ question can therefore be incredibly diverse and personal to the respondent answering the question. When trying to identify a more holistic answer to this question, it can be useful to break fitness down into a number of different component parts, that have an impact on your overall wellbeing. These are:
1. Physical fitness – the well being of the physical body such as heart, lungs, muscles bones and joints.
2. Mental & emotional fitness – being able to maintain a positive mental state with your mind and emotions, which includes being better able to better manage stress.
3. Medical fitness – being free from chronic disease, injury and illness.
4. Nutritional fitness – having a balanced nutritional intake of food and drink for growth and repair.
5. Social fitness – having healthy interactions and relationships with others.
Your answer to the ‘what is fitness’ question, can most probably be mapped to one or more of the five components of fitness highlighted above. If there are area(s) of fitness that you might be looking to improve, you may wish to consider what action you could take to improve your fitness.
You could speak with your GP or other health and fitness professionals. You could do some internet research or speak with others who have faced similar fitness challenges to you. Whatever your preferred course of action, it should hopefully be your first positive step to making some changes to improve ‘your fitness’. The advantages of improving fitness are well documented and they include:
• Losing excess body fat
• Reduced risk of heart disease
• Improved self esteem
• Prevention of some cancers
• Improved energy levels
• Reduced cholesterol
• Reduced blood pressure
• Improved sleep
• Decreased back pain
• Stronger bones
A good all round definition of fitness I use is, ‘the ability to meet the physical and mental demands of everyday life’. If you are now starting to gain a better understanding of what fitness means to you, then you can maybe write down some changes you can make to improve your fitness.
Writing down the changes is often easier than taking the steps to implement them. However, the first step to improved fitness is often the hardest one to make, but when you start to reap the rewards that fitness brings, you will look back at this step as one of the most important ones you have ever made.