Contributed by – Preksha Buttan
Fitness has become a buzzword in our conversations in recent times. Everyone, from your boss to the neighborhood aunty is adopting some activity that can help them achieve fitness. Fitness is a huge market with new diets and activities becoming popular everyday and fitness centers and gyms mushrooming in every neighborhood. Technology to enable fitness from apps to smartwatches has flooded the market. However, most people fail to distinguish between fitness and health and assume that fitness is the key to good health. While fitness is important but it doesn’t necessarily mean being healthy. Here’s our take –
Why you may look fit but not be healthy?
A lean and muscular body is a good indicator of one’s fitness. However, if someone eating junk food with a strict exercise regime is able to burn it off to maintain particular physical features that may not be an indicator of good health. Someone may be able to maintain good physical fitness with a disciplined exercise regime, but maybe a chain smoker with high alcohol consumption as well. Will that be counted as being healthy? Health is a holistic idea that encompasses your outer, internal and mental health, the definition of health by WHO is that it is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Fitness is a part of health but having a muscular and slim body is not all about it.
What determines your fitness level?
Strength – Strength training is for those who are into weight lifting. It is the ability of your muscles to apply force.
Stamina – A runner or a boxer typically need to have high levels of stamina. It focuses on how quickly an individual can move from one place to another.
Flexibility – Flexibility is important for a dancer, gymnast or those who do yoga and pilates. They need to have a maximum range of motion of their joints.
Balance – Balance is having the ability to hold a certain pose without support for some time. Gymnasts, dancers or those who do yoga on a pole (mallakhamb) need to have great balance.
Cardio endurance – While running, skipping or swimming your body needs to have a high ability to deliver oxygen to the heart so that the particular activity can be performed without going breathless. That is basically having a healthy cardiovascular system to be able to perform cardio exercises.
What constitutes good health?
As we told you, fitness is a part of being healthy and you need to take care of yourself in a holistic manner to lead a happy life. Some environmental factors do have an impact on your health and fitness level but it still is largely in your control. By following the steps below you can create a healthy lifestyle.
Eating healthy – Eating healthy is the key to staying healthy as the food you eat controls how your body is going to work. You deprive it of the nutrients it needs and it will stop supporting you in the activities you do. So, start minding what you eat. Include vegetables especially green veggies, fruits of all colors, nuts, seeds and dairy into your diet. Or you can follow clean eating which is, basically, a lifestyle promoting healthy eating habits. Eating nutritious, wholesome food helps in keeping all your organs functioning in top form and gives you the energy to.
Getting good quality sleep – You already know that minimum 7 hours of sleep is essential for everybody. In these hours your body recharges, rebuilds and rejuvenates itself. To prevent any damages in your body you need to give it this time. Both physical and mental functions will be hampered and you’ll easily fall sick.
Keeping stress away – Stress in day-to-day life is inevitable. From completing the projects before the deadline to taking care of the kids – life is filled with stress. However, you have got to learn to manage the stress otherwise it will keep you from performing your best and can also invite diseases.
Adopting an active lifestyle – When we say maintain an active lifestyle, we certainly do not mean that you’ve got to go to the gym every day (if you can then kudos to you!). But what we mean here is do not laze around. Ditch the lift. Get down from bus a stop before your actual destination and walk the remain distance. Get up from your chair every 30 minutes and walk around for a while. And if you’ve got time, then workout at least 4 times a week.
Maintaining personal hygiene – Many common communicable diseases can be avoided by maintaining some basic tenets of hygiene. Washing your hands, bathing every day, changing your sheets regularly are some of the things that can help avoid germs and microbes that cause illnesses like colds, infections, allergies etc. Another important aspect where you need to focus on is your sexual health, maintaining hygiene and using protection is important to avoid the risk of STI’s
Get yourself checked regularly – Diseases come uninvited and it’s a known fact. And that is why you need to have a preventive mindset towards health. Get regular health checkups done so that you know your risks well in advance and can start an early treatment before things get out of your hand.
The above steps are not only essential for being healthy but can also directly impact your fitness. By adopting these habits you can achieve good health holistically and lead a happier life.
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