If you’re like me then you often consider what fitness really is and what it means to be “fit”.
Often times you see people who are bigger and stronger than you, faster, and seem to just be born with it. While you may consider these people to be the fittest of them all, this, to me, is not actually the case.
Sure these people are physically strong or fast or whatever, but there is a much deeper element to being fit, and a much less physical one. It, for me, really breaks down into body and mind, and the use and application of both. Allow me to explain:
1. The Body:
Let’s face it, a lot of people exercise and consider someone to be fit if they have a nice body. However this can be quite a common misconception when it comes to fitness. Someone may lift hundreds of pounds of weight, but might not be able to run a mile without having to walk or stop. The same goes the other way. (This example is purposefully dramatic, however it demonstrates my point). Now your goals may be to just lift tons of weight and not care about cardio, and if so, this blog probably isn’t for you.
The way I see fit from a body perspective is, lifting weights and moving quickly, combined to mean athletic, but also how you apply your body and USE it. Our bodies are tools for completing tasks. Picking up things, holding things, running to catch a train, etc. if you cannot complete the daily tasks that your body should and is designed to complete, I would consider this person unfit. (This doesn’t include not being able to move heavy furniture by yourself, again, I am dramatizing for the purposes of explanation). We need to be able to use our bodies to help us live. This is the application of the body we are meant to have. Otherwise, what are we? Just brains in a useless vessel that serves no practical purpose?
2. The Mind
Physical fitness cannot be separated from mental fitness either. The mind is a powerful powerful thing that must be trained just as hard, if not harder, than the body. Working out at the gym does helps workout the mind in a sense. It’s therapeutic, it releases stress, you have time to open your mind and thinking about the exercise you are doing and connect with your body. But you also much train it elsewhere. This means reading, taking classes, constantly engaging your mind in something that truly interests you and applying your mind towards something. This is the self application of the mind – to keep looking for things that get you excited and that you can do to help your brain function.
There’s also application of the mind to others. This means being there for your family, your friends, and others in need. If you help others through service, or just acting as ears for them to talk to you about something, you must truly listen and engage your mind in this way too. You can also combine self and others with the mind by talking about life, philosophy, and common interests that you have. This helps improve your mind as well as everyone else’s.
Both the body and the mind contribute to overall fitness. You cannot be fit with just one of these components. A lot of this comes with time and with careful thought, especially for the mind, but if you are able to use your body and your mind, put it to good work and are able to carry out all of the tasks your body is meant to carry out, you are fit.
Someone may ask how health comes into all of this. Because being healthy is not the same as being fit. A healthy person means that all of their bodily functions are performing well, and their inner workings of the body and mind are up to par. A fit mind and body is always a healthy body, a healthy mind and body isn’t always a fit one. Fitness brings in muscle and application to both of these aspects. Health just merely means that your biology is the way it’s supposed to be.
This is how I define fitness and being fit. It is a constant battle, a constant trade off, and a constant compromise.