To figure this out we need to address what fitness even is. Here are a few definitions:
The dictionary definition:
The United States Department of Health and Human Services define physical fitness as:
A set of attributes that people have or achieve that relates to the ability to perform physical activity
What are these definitions actually telling us? Fitness is a very personal term and relates back to your individualised goals. For me, something called the health triangle demonstrates how we should perceive our own fitness, or health.
This triangle highlights that being fit isn’t just about being physically fit; it’s also about being mentally and socially fit. Let’s break the triangle down in terms of what it can mean for your overall fitness…
Physical fitness, or physical health, is just one element of the health triangle. As I said before, this is very personal and there is not one size fits all. Your own definition of being physically fit could be;
- A body weight Olympic lift
- Running a marathon
- Walking up the stairs unaided
Physical fitness is a combination of exercise and physical activity.
Physical activity is any movement produced by skeletal muscles that require energy expenditure. This includes exercise, but also any other activities which involve bodily movement and are done as part of playing, working, active transportation, house chores and recreational activities.
Exercise is defined as a subcategory of physical activity. It’s planned, structured, repetitive, and purposeful.
So, exercise could involve big compound lifts (dead lifts, squats and bench presses), mixed with cardiovascular training (running, rowing and cycling) plus gymnastic moves (pull-ups and dips).
Physical activity is a key component of exercise. It could include trying to play as many new sports as possible, learning new skills, walking more, taking the stairs, running for the bus, trying something new and generally challenging your body for the unexpected journey that we call life. By taking part in exercise you are preparing yourself for physical activity, and of course, the other way round.
Here at premium one, we vary workouts to include heavy lifting, aerobic training, strength endurance, gymnastics and Olympic lifting so that should life throw something unexpected at you, you can overcome this and carry on with your daily routine as normal like it never happened.
This is why I love our group sessions. Without necessarily realising it, you are interacting and sharing your challenges, expectations and successes with peers.
You can also bring social elements into other areas of your fitness. Running and sports clubs, spending time in the outdoors with your family, walking the dog with a friend – these all count.
Of course this social element of the health triangle is not always linked to exercise and physical activity. Being part of a group, having regular meet ups with friends, enjoying your working environment. These are all part of your social health.
One element of mental health is the process of learning. Learning new things and enjoying new experiences challenges your brain in a positive way. You’ll also be learning new ways of coping with whatever life throws at you.
Of course there are many elements of mental health that you won’t find answers to within your fitness routine. However, by challenging yourself to new movements, learning some theory and talking about your individual challenges and focuses you will be helping with this element of the health triangle.
Nathaniel and I are always available to chat before and after sessions. Learning the theory behind fitness is a big part of what we do; we’re always learning and feel really passionately about sharing that with you.
Remember the health triangle
So, getting fit is relative to each individual. Next time you’re planning some gym sessions; remember to mix up your routine with new movements, sports, people and places. Bear in mind the health triangle and what that means for your own individual fitness journey.
Adam Cheetham, Fitness Specialist at YMCA gym, nottsymca.com/premiumone