Health vs Fitness: How health and fitness are different

Health and fitness

Health is at best a slippery term.  Most often defined by a lack or absence of unwanted conditions.  Having high blood pressure, cancer, a wide waist, too much blood sugar, a cold, flu, or other actual illness is considered un-healthy.  We think of the absence of these conditions as healthy.

Health and Fitness
Courtesy of MyYogaOnline

Fitness, although almost joined together with health is something different.  Physiologist measure fitness in terms of cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory function (the later includes measures of lung function). In short fitness is a measurement of how well our bodies transport oxygen to laboring muscles and movement.

Something to make you go…hmm about health and fitness!

It’s possible to be fit and not healthy

A physically fit person may have strong lungs, a robust heart, and hard muscles but may not be clinically healthy.

  • Lance Armstrong was fit but not healthy when he was diagnosed with cancer.
  • Muhammad Ali fit but not healthy when diagnosed with Parkinson’s
  • Jim Fixx was fit by not healthy when he died of a heart attack while marathon training.

Despite the un-apparent dichotomy for most of us health and fitness are likely the main keys for our success as we look for ways to increase our productivity in 2013.  I’ll personally be doing a lot more Yoga, swimming, and brain function exercises in the coming year.

Health and Fitness Resources

If you’re looking for some new insights into staying healthy and fit both physically and mentally a good read is Gretchen Reynolds new book The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can: Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer.

In 2008 the U.S. Federal Government issued its first-ever Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. They describe the types and amounts of physical activity that offer substantial health benefits to Americans.

What do you do to stay healthy and fit?  Let me know in the comment section below and don’t forget to share with your friends on Twitter and Facebook.