How some defined fitness: The word “fit” is a slippery one. It means so many different things to so many different people. For some, being fit is a matter of being able to keep up with grandchildren who visit on weekends. For others, being fit is about being able to run several marathons every year. Most of us are somewhere in between.
In a practical sense, defined fitness is a step above wellness, which used to simply mean not being sick. Now, it has connotations of having a sense of well-being and a moderate amount of vigor. Individuals who have experienced illness often aspire to not feeling sick, and for them that is enough. People who consider themselves “out of shape,” though, are shooting for something a bit more intense than that.
So What is Fitness? and Defined Fitness
It’s about having higher standards of physical condition and performance than the average person. Fit is about being able to do what you want when you want for as long as you want without your body dictating when you stop. Fit doesn’t come along by chance, and genetics have something to say about what level of fitness you start at, how quickly you get fit, and how long after stopping working out you keep your fitness level.
Defined Fitness can be expressed as a range on a continuum. We can look at this continuum as Sick/Well/Fit/Activity (Sports)-Specific:
- Sick – Not many of us have chronic illnesses that make us operate at the “Sick” level, but that is the best level some folks can live at. These people do the best they can and are often functional, if not fit
- Well – Free of any symptom or diagnosis of any sickness that a medical professional gives. These folks go about living their lives without having to factor in medication, trips to the doctor or hospital, or health concerns
- Fit – a level of physical condition and performance above well, but not as razor-sharp as activity-specific. As mentioned above, this level is about being able to do whatever you want without having to worry about your body quitting on you
- Activity (Sports)-Specific –This category includes all athletes and elite military. Reaching and maintaining this level of physical performance is a lifestyle in and of itself. Everything matters, because everything has an effect on performance – food and liquids, sleeping, training, injury-treatment and rehab.
So what is fitness? When we are working on setting fitness goals, we need to take levels of physical condition and performance into consideration. If we want to be fit, as opposed to well, we need to know what that entails.