What does being fit entail? It is not easy to find a discrete definition. The definition of fitness in the dictionary is “the characteristic or state of being fit.” (1) (The term “fit” is defined as “sound both mentally and physically “) (2) You’re not alone if you thought those words were a little ambiguous.
And according to specialists in exercise, that’s the point. Fitness need not entail becoming an ultra-marathoner or being able to do one or a hundred pull-ups. For many people, fitness might mean different things.
Physical therapist and certified strength and conditioning specialist Grayson Wickham, creator of the mobility and movement company Movement Vault, says, “For me, fitness is first and foremost about feeling good and being able to move without discomfort.” Proper fitness, according to him, is about feeling well and being in good enough form to engage in the activities you enjoy and lead the lifestyle you desire. Can you have fun with your children or grandchildren? Can you hike the Inca Trail if it’s on your bucket list? Do you feel nice after working in the garden all day? Can you climb all the steps you need in your life without going out of breath or stopping to rest?
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, experts have traditionally identified five essential elements of physical fitness: body composition (the proportion of fat and fat-free tissue in the body), cardiorespiratory or aerobic fitness, flexibility, muscular strength, and muscular endurance. The deputy chief of staff at the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital in Hines, Illinois, Jeffrey E. Oken, MD, argues that you also can’t ignore the effects of diet, sleep, and mental and emotional health on fitness.
That implies that just because you appear fit, you may not be.
Some people are driven by poor self-esteem to concentrate on their looks and numbers while pointing out their flaws. Some people forego sleep and rest to advance their careers, but this can cause their bodies to become ill or burn out, according to Jonesco. According to the author, fitness is a natural spectrum of physical well-being that must balance our emotional and physical drives.
We gain the most when all aspects of fitness are balanced, both physically and mentally.
The Anxiety of Stress
Respondents placed managing a sickness or condition and “stressing about my life” as the two most significant wellness issues, with mental health and poor self-esteem coming in last on the list. The poll respondents ranked having financial security as the highest priority and fulfilling and healthy sex life as the lowest value when ranking factors influencing wellness aspirations.
Respondents were asked to list the issues currently hurting their wellness. The top three responses were weight, body mass index, waist circumference (51 percent), and stress and anxiety (50 percent). On the other end of the range, respondents expressed less worry about other people’s perceptions (14%) and health issues (23%).
The ranking of wellness difficulties revealed that “stressing about my life” was the top, second, or third most significant wellness challenge for 80% of those who claimed it was a challenge. Concerns about money and cancer also bring on stress and worry.
Stress and worry about life, in general, are pervasive. But we are all aware that tension will never go away. How might stress be used to our advantage rather than a disadvantage? “How do I deal with stress?” is the most critical question women should ask themselves, according to Mikhail Varshavski, DO (aka Doctor Mike), a family medicine specialist from New York who will join the staff of the Atlantic Health System Overlook Medical Center in Summit, New Jersey, in January. It’s time to flip the tables if you perceive stress as your enemy and see if you can begin to see stress as your ally. According to him, making this small change can significantly enhance wellness.
What is Dr. Mike’s go-to advice for seeing stress more favorably? “Setting aside time each day for yourself to spend time thinking is what’s most crucial. This doesn’t have to be sitting cross-legged with your thumbs and forefingers touching; it might just be some quiet time to reflect and make some realistic goals.” These routine check-ins, according to him, are a terrific approach to reset and start to view stress from a different perspective. (Doctor Mike also enjoys prescribing to his patients to “take a walk, once daily.”)