What Is Fitness?

fitness Jun 02, 2020

As with anything, when we talk about fitness it is important to know what we are actually referring to.

You probably have your own ideas and definitions. Perhaps for you, it’s always conjured up images of athletes, displaying their superhuman abilities. Maybe it’s been about the fitness models you see on the cover of glossy magazines.

But here’s my definition:

Fitness is your ability to cope with and recover from stress.

Simple, right?

So if we divide fitness into physical and mental:

Physical fitness is your ability to cope with and recover from physical stress.


Mental fitness is your ability to cope with and recover from mental stress.

Physical stress could be something unusual like running a marathon, or something everyday such as climbing a flight of stairs. It can be anything which puts your body under some kind of strain, and for each of us that will look very different. How we cope with and recover from that stress is down to our physical fitness.

This type of fitness can be broken down into 11 components: 5 health-related, and 6 skill-related. I will go through these in more detail in a separate post, but health-related includes cardiovascular fitness, strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition; skill-related includes balance, coordination, response time, agility, speed and power.

Mental stress could be a looming deadline at work, an argument with our significant other, or pretty much every day of being a parent. Again, this will look different for each of us, but the overall principle is the same. How we cope with and recover from these occurrences will be down to our mental fitness.

This type of fitness is discussed much less, at least in terms of the way I think of it. Again, the breakdown here could fill a whole other post, but I have broken mental fitness down into four components: emotional, social, financial and spiritual.

With these definitions in mind, what could this mean in your life? What would better mental and physical fitness allow you to do?

If you were mentally and physically fitter, what would that make possible?


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