What Does Health and Fitness Mean?

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[spacer height=”20px”] We are constantly bombarded with the ‘how to-s’ of fat loss, 10 day this – 12 weeks that, all in the name of health and fitness. But do we ever think to ourselves what fitness really is, or do we just go with the next best thing or new fitness trend? Not to bore you with too much information but I feel that our society has been brainwashed to conform to the unrealistic views of health and fitness which are mostly created for advertising purposes than they are for the benefit of an individual. So allow me to give you some insight on what health and fitness is…

What is fitness?

Physical fitness is defined as “the ability to carry out daily tasks with vigor and alertness, without undue fatigue, and with ample energy to enjoy leisure-time pursuits and respond to emergencies.” This then tells us that fitness is anything from getting out of bed to running on the treadmill to hiking or simply walking to the store and carrying your groceries back home.

There are about 8 components of fitness. Namely:-

  1. Speed – how quick or fast you can move from point A to point B.
  2. Flexibility – how far a joint or muscle group can be stretched or moved.
  3. Muscular endurance– how many repetitions of an exercise one can perform.
  4. Body composition – the amount of fat in the body in comparison to your other tissues such as muscle, bones and skin.
  5. Muscular power – how much force your muscle can generate during an articular activity.
  6. Balance – how long a position can be held without any form of activity being performed, e.g. standing on one leg.
  7. Muscular strength – how much weight can be moved in relation to repetitions.
  8. Cardio-respiratory endurance – how fast an individual can perform an exercise or activity and its impact on the heart measurements and oxygen consumption.

What is Health?

Health refers to a state of complete emotional and physical well-being. “It is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” (WHO 1948).

There are two most commonly discussed types of health. These are:

  1. Physical Health – this involves the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle to lower the risk of disease. An example would be maintaining physical fitness through the 8 components of fitness. It also helps reduce the risk of injury or health issue. For example, practicing safe sex, minimising or avoiding the use of alcohol, drugs and tobacco.
  2. Mental  Health – refers to a person’s emotional, social, and psychological well being. It is not only the absence of anxiety or depression or any other mental illness but rather the ability to enjoy life, adapt adversity, achieve balance, achieve your potential, feel safe and secure, bounce back after difficult experiences etc.

To conclude, it is clear that neither health or fitness are about the best sexy looking body or abs, how many kilograms you weigh on the scale or how much or less cellulite you have. But rather health is your mental and physical well being which includes your overall fitness according to your lifestyle.

This then means a body with muscles can be unhealthy, in the same way that a body without muscles can. To strive for a body with the notion of it being the healthy type is simply unrealistic, and mostly sets you up for disappointments, as you might realise that the journey to health and fitness is not as easy and quick and as simple as the latest fitness trends portray. If you are free of sickness and disease, are able to do your daily tasks and daily functions whilst enjoying life, then you can safely say that you are fit and healthy.

Inspirationally yours,


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