There is no standard definition of physical fitness.
It means different things to different people. Decide on your own definition but be mindful of your activity. Fitness is relative to the activity performed and not all activities require similar fitness. For example, someone who is playing as a goalkeeper in soccer may not necessarily be fit for hockey and the fitness for running a marathon may not translate to the fitness for playing rugby.
I believe it is more appropriate to promote a broader definition of total fitness that should comprise of the following 5 elements:
- Strength and the development of lean body mass (muscle).
- Cardiovascular conditioning
- Ease of general daily activities
- Exercise-FREE factors
Elements 1 to 3 is quite self-explanatory but lets talk about 4 and 5. With element 4, if you go about your daily activities without an ache or pain in the world, then, you must be doing something right with your life. Stop and spare a thought for the millions of people in the world that are not as lucky as you to just jump out of bed bursting with the vitality of a hundred people.
Many humans struggle just to get through their daily activities, like getting out of bed, doing their shopping etc without some form of pain or discomfort. Some could not get through their day without resorting to more than a handful of drugs. Not nice. Not the way they had envisioned of living.
With element five, this includes variables that make up your lifestyle such as healthy nutrition (for the body and mind), no drug abuse, adequate rest and recuperation (sleep), adequate exposure to sunshine (but don’t get sun-burned), good posture, healthy and fulfilling relationships and an enjoyable and satisfying employment.
Now, for people who make their living being a sportsperson, being talented is not enough. They each need to ensure they hone their skills specific to their sport to be the best they can be to be totally fit for that activity.
However, if you’re thinking of starting a fitness program. Great for you! Consider the elements I have listed when you think about getting ‘fit’. All these elements should be factored in to your program for self improvement before, I believe, anyone can really be said to be healthy and fit.
I have seen them, so perhaps have you, people that are strong and well-built but physically unfit and cannot even run up a small flight of stairs without difficulty. Just all show and some suffer from a world-wide epidemic, very evident on beaches – mostly men who suffer from what I have termed “ILS” or “imaginary lats – syndrome”. Yep, you’ve seen them! Then you have people who are extremely fit physically and yet not be healthy (very long-distance runners could arguably fall in this boat).
So, there is a prevailing mis-perception about what people consider to be ‘fit’ in society as it most probably does not include the 5 elements I have highlighted above. Although it is highly desirable to be physically fit, please bear in mind that there is so much more to total fitness (and health) than just that.
Now, if you’re brave enough to ‘get off the fence’ and help yourself with your physical goals in life and if you’re lucky enough to seek and get help, just do it! (I just love this NIKE slogan). If you feel you want to go about it on your own then consider mapping out a time-frame for your body transformation journey, say a 16-week (4 month) goal with realistic but specific goals.
Obviously, don’t be too ambitious in the early days. Don’t be disappointed if you can’t achieve instantaneous results. Like I have said before, learn patience and persistence.
Take stock of your physical health so far and remember you have had your body since you were born. You have possibly misused it for many, many years. You have a lot of mending to do, so getting fit won’t happen overnight, but it WILL happen if you TRY.
Health, good health is the sum of many parts, including how you think, what you eat, read and drink, how you see your body, how you plan your daily activities and how you perform them and how you get on with your internal and external environment.
Like I have said in an earlier blog, you are like a juggler with many balls in the air. If you drop one, that’s fine. Keep going, the others will take up the slack. And then tomorrow, start again with all the balls.
Take a day off occasionally. On those days, sit down for a few minutes and think how you could make your routine more enjoyable.
Notice, I said more enjoyable – NOT EASIER..
Until next time,