What is “fitness”? (Part 3)

If you’ve read parts 1 and 2, your patience will now be rewarded.

(If you haven’t read the previous posts, well, too bad, but before judging this one, perhaps you should read the others.)

In the first two posts of this series, I covered some definitions of fitness that I feel should be rejected as inadequate for today’s reality.

We remain animals, but the measures of fitness that come from biology are probably not the best we can use given all that we’ve done to ease our lives, mostly by changing our immediate environment and the conditions of our lives.

Training too hard, which I feel is in compensation for feeling like something is wrong with our current lifestyle, is fraught with perils. It may work for a small portion of the population, but not for the majority. Also, all too often it focuses on the visual aspect of our bodies, which in itself is a bad idea. Those forms of obsessions are damaging to our health.

So my key point, the conclusion I’m proposing, is that we need a new definition of fitness. One that makes sense today, and for everyone. Let me give it to you without further ado:

Fitness = Sustainable Activity

Think of it this way: Fitness should be about our ability to go about our regular activities without undue difficulties. It should be about being able to handle the variable demands placed on us by life. It should also be about being able to do so for a good long time. You know, as in living a healthy, active life, well into Old Age.

In essence, we need to do enough physical activity, train ourselves through movement, to enable our bodies to be healthy without negative consequences. If our occasional exercise regimen causes us to have problems functioning through the rest of our daily activities, we are not really being fit: We’re being extreme once again.

It is a fine balance, but one that is well worth seeking. And one that requires constant vigilance, not just the occasional bout of intense training and/or dieting as compensatory measures for too much time spent watching TV and eating nachos…

It has been repeatedly demonstrated that physical activity is the key to health, both physical and mental. This is a topic we will explore at length in No-brainer Fitness. For now, please accept it as a factual premise.

Incidentally, the sustainable level of activity that is fitness is highly individual. Some can, and will, do more than others. You like running marathons, and are doing so in such a way as to remain healthy, then by all means, go ahead! In fact, and I’ll come back to that in other posts, you’d be surprised at what each and everyone of us is capable of.

Some, therefore, will be very active; others, less so, yet much more than they currently are. Some will lose a lot of weight, over time, while others may lose less. What matters most is to seek one’s own balance, without falling into the trap of obsession and extremes.

In fact, the only obsession that makes sense, is that of seeking balance.

How do we get there? How do we build this fitness we’ve just defined? That will be the subject of my next post, and probably many more after that, outside of this series, which is now at an end…

This blog is open to discussions. Feel free to comment.

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