Thursday, June 21, 2012

What is Fitness?

I'm a big fan of the CrossFit methodology and incorporate many of the exercises and workouts into my daily exercise routine. The What Is Fitness? article is a brilliant introduction to what it means to be a fit person--I recommend that you read it.  CrossFit isn't for everyone though because I think it scares many people away from any sort of exercise program all.  With physical inactivity as a leading cause of preventable disease today, more people need to add some (any!) activity to their lives.  Fortunately avoidance of metabolic syndrome and other lifestyle diseases only requires a moderate amount of physical activity.  CrossFit is an excellent way to be active, but the competitive and intense nature of it may leave some exercise newbies feeling that exercise isn't for them if CrossFit is what it means to exercise.  Our societal epidemic of obesity is much more important to address than any epidemic of slow Fran times.

To me fitness is much easier to define.  Fitness is a long life with minimal disease, chronic pain, or unhappiness.  Jack Lalanne summed it up with longevity and quality of life.  This isn't achieved only through exercising but daily physical activity plays a role in this view of fitness in a number of ways.  Move your joints or they stiffen up.  Raise your heart rate to improve heart health.  Set and achieve physical goals to raise your self-esteem.  Being able to accomplish physical feats can get you out of dangerous situations.  A sound body contributes to a sound mind.  This is the foundation of my view of fitness and will be the foundation for all my subsequent musings on physical exercise.  

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