Re-defining Fitness

Being fit is important for our health and longevity, but when you hear the word “fitness” what do you think of?

Is it grunting body builders in the gym, endurance athletes or professional sports people? If this is the case, then do you feel it’s really relevant to the majority of the population? And is it why many don’t feel compelled to do any form of exercise as the expectations are too high? This is why I would like you to think about the term fitness in a different way, so that it is relevant to you and sets relevant goals to your life.

I will give you an example; for me, fitness is about being able to go about my daily life without being held back by injury or lack of mobility, lack of functional strength (manual tasks), not getting overly out of breath when taking the stairs and having the ability to play with my children. Also, perhaps a little dramatic, but being able to take care of my family in the extreme of an emergency situation. 

It’s important to mention that exercise goes completely against our innate instincts for survival. It doesn’t make evolutionary sense to burn extra energy in the natural world where you don’t know where the next meal is coming from. So, don’t feel guilty if you don’t like exercise, it’s not your fault, it’s in your genes.

So, what is fitness for you? If it is specific to the mainstream vision of fitness then your routine should be tailored specially to the activity or sport you enjoy (If you don’t enjoy it, stop, it’s not going to last). If like me it’s about being fit for life, then take a moment to sit down and think about what this means to you.

I think most people would want to be able to take care of themselves and family members and be able to move through life without hindrance, but what does this involve?

Now, this does mean that you will have to consider some kind of movement, but it doesn’t have to be in a gym or sports field. I have written before about how moving regularly throughout the day can all help, but you should try and include activities that cover some kind of cardiovascular work, this can be a brisk walk or even some gardening with purpose. A mobility-based routine to keep all joints and connective tissues supple in their full range of movement, and some sort of resistance exercise; these can be as simple as getting up and doing some body weight squats or press ups. Resistance work needs to be enough to stimulate the muscle tissue, but doesn’t have to be painful as we are often told.

I hope you now have a more balanced vision of what fitness should mean and hope you can start to reap the benefits of being “Fit”

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