Being fit doesn’t mean being healthy? In fact, it’s possible to be fit but unhealthy and not fit at all but reasonably healthy. Certainly fitness and health have lot in common. Fitness is definitely a path to good health. But one does not imply the other.
For someone who is starting off as unhealthy and unfit, fitness is the same as (good) health. This is due to the lifestyle changes required to improve health and improve fitness are mostly the same : more movement, more of veggies and protein in most of the meals, 7-8 hrs of sleep & recovery, less junk/sugar, 2.5-3.5 liters of water/day & less stress. But after reaching a certain level of fitness, the two start drifting apart.
At some point, all of us will need to do tiny, specific actions to improve our fitness that don’t necessarily improve health. In fact, once you reach elite levels, pushing past boundaries and trying to improve fitness further beyond can be counter productive. It come at the cost of health. That’s the price we pay for peak level of fitness.
While this might be worth the discomfort and risks for someone who is an elite professional in the fitness world, for most people pursuing fitness for improved long term health, better aesthetics and quality of life, it certainly isn’t. So, if you are not a professional athlete/actor/model; what you need to aim for is not peak fitness but being “fit and healthy”. Being there 80% of the time and having some fun for the 20%. It’s possible to be “fit and healthy” and accomplish your goals by being 100% consistent 80% of the time or being 80% consistent 100% of the time. It is at this optimal zone of fitness and health that you can be disease free, pain free, productive and happy.
To get there, choose holistic fitness, not just focus on body weight, set sustainable goals, tiny habits that we can repeat consistently over long term( think years, not weeks and months), work with empathetic people, value progress over perfection, stay consistent and have fun. Don’t feel guilty about not working as hard as a professional athlete and don’t compare your results or fitness with that of an elite athlete/actor/model. Just use your fitness to improve your health, environment and life in general.
7 key indicators of health that has nothing to do with body weight: