Experts define physical fitness as “one’s ability to execute daily activities with optimal performance, endurance, and strength with the management of disease, fatigue, and stress and reduced sedentary behavior.”
Health has been defined by the World Health Organisation as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. It includes aging well, longevity, quality of life, freedom from pain, etc.
Fitness, on the other hand, is defined as a set of attributes that people have or achieve that relates to the ability to perform physical activity. Fitness is made up of many components, and the following factors need to be considered when discussing fitness levels:
- Endurance (Cardiovascular and Cardio-Respiratory): This is your body’s ability to use and deliver oxygen to your body.
- Stamina (Muscular Endurance): This is your body’s ability to store, process, and use energy.
- Strength: This is the ability of your muscles or a muscular unit to apply force.
- Flexibility: The ability to maximize the range of motion of a joint.
- Power: The ability of your muscles to maximize their force in a minimum amount of time.
- Speed: The ability to minimize the amount of time it takes you to accomplish a task or movement.
- Coordination: The ability to combine several different movement patterns in a single distinct movement.
- Accuracy: The ability to control a movement in a given direction or intensity.
- Agility: The ability to minimize the time going from one movement to another.
- Balance: The ability to control the centre of gravity of your body in relation to your support base.
Fitness is, therefore, the condition of being physically fit and healthy and involves attributes that include, but are not limited to mental acuity, cardio-respiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, body composition, and flexibility.
Physical activity or exercise can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Physical activity and exercise can have immediate and long-term health benefits. Most importantly, regular activity can improve your quality of life.
Fitness involves activity of some sort that stimulates various systems of the body and maintains a certain condition within the body. Health, on the other hand, involves every system of the body and is only achieved through a lifestyle that supports health.
For instance, if a person has neglected to eat properly, ignored the fat content, and ate mostly processed foods, all the exercise in the world couldn’t possibly correct the damage done from such a lifestyle.
Exercise won’t remove the damage from chemicals, or improve immune system damage or weakness from depleted foods. Only proper nutrition can support good health. Fitness can also support and improve our health but only if it is part of one’s way of life.
Our general health is mainly the result of various nutritional and life style decisions as well as physical activities on regular or daily basis.