"The first wealth is health." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
What does it mean to be fit? I’ve been thinking about this recently. There are tests that can be taken (VO2 max, BMI, waist to hip ratio, body fat anlaysis, 1.5 mile run, etc) – the list can go on and on. These can all be useful "tests" to help in determining your fitness level. But what qualifies as being fit?
I see it like a puzzle, with several pieces playing a part.
Nutrition plays a large role in determining how fit you are. This is one of the big factors in the puzzle. We are bombarded by food choices, and it can be very easy to make unfavorable ones. It’s a holiday weekend coming up here in the United States. One of those times when it’s easy to overeat. A splurge here and there is ok, just don’t let that become a habit. The key is to eat in moderation, and eat high quality real foods (vegetables, fruits, quality meats, and quality fats).
Cardio Vascular Fitness
Having a healthy heart comes in part from staying active. One great way to do this is through cardio-type exercises (running, walking, biking, swimming, interval training, etc). These types of exercises elevate your heart rate, which helps to strengthen your heart. They also help to burn calories from your body. Just remember that in addition to burning fat calories, this type of exercise also burns muscle.
Muscle-building exercises are another great way to build your fitness level. Having more muscle in your body will help to reduce the fat stores you have, and will also help to burn more of the calories you are eating. This is an important piece of the puzzle, and one that should not be overlooked.
Family history can play a role in the fitness puzzle as well. This is an area where someone from the medical field can best help assess the effects family history is having on your overall health and fitness levels.
These are some of the factors that play into determing how fit you are. No one test is going to give you a definitive answer, but they can help in assessing where you’re at.
The key is to remain active, and eat healthy. And don’t forget to consult a doctor or other qualified medical professional with more specifics into many of these areas. Living healthy feels great!