Is there a difference between Health and Fitness?
The term Health & Fitness is analogous to a perfect state of being. We also use this term loosely when talking about the sports industry and many assume that Health is similar to Fitness. This might very well also be the fault of the media as Health is often referenced in the same light as Fitness. Yet, this equivocal relationship between Health and Fitness can actually be defined separately. Contrary to the opinions of many, Health and Fitness are different.
According to World Health Organization, Health is defined as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” As such, when we refer to a state of health, there is often a reference to a holistic state of well-being. In fact, a person who is healthy is not necessarily fit and the opposite is true as well. There are individuals who can crank out hundreds of push ups in one setting or run a marathon in under 3 hours but still fall sick frequently.
Fitness is essentially an aspect of health and can be defined as having the capacity to perform a certain athletic activity. Dwelling deeper, Fitness has components such as endurance, strength and flexibility. Hence, when we look and apprehend a person’s performance in a sporting arena, an individual’s fitness level is dependent on his ability to meet the physical requirements of the sport.
In Singapore where football fanatics would spend hours discussing their favourite teams over their beer guzzling time in a pub somewhere, the obsession with a player’s performance often highlights his technical skills on the field. Yet what we often forget is that matches can be lost and won by the players’ capacity to sustain their play at a certain level of intensity for an extended period of time. Endurance and strength are therefore important elements of a game.
What about IPPT? Every NS man or NSF in Singapore has to undertake this annual test. This much dreaded assessment (to some) where individuals are tested on their strength and endurance have individuals who have tried but failed to escape this harrowing experience. Some have resorted to paying fines in their pixelated uniforms in their Units and having to come back for Remedial Training. The IPPT at its best tries to encourage individuals to exercise on a regular basis and attracts with its incentives so that servicemen will be fit. Yet, the question remains if there is a guarantee that exercising which can aid fitness development also helps to develop healthy Singaporeans?
In recent years we see extremely fit athletes and laypersons collapse during runs and marathons. The reports of such cases have instilled fear and also create confusion on what we can do to be in good health. Very fit individuals have reportedly also contracted diseases and cancerous ailments and the search to the answer of good health has been a baffling frustration.
As health is affected by physical, mental and emotional elements, exercise is still an important activity to achieving good health. Regular exercise regulates your blood pressure and cholesterol level and aid in preserving health, especially as you age. At the same time, exercise encourages the production of endorphins which are ‘feel good’ hormones to alleviate stress and reduces the risk of depression. Yet, physical exercise is but one element of developing good health.
Importance of Wellbeing
Being stress-free, finding things to do that makes you happy and having a healthy self-esteem about yourself will keep you in a healthy state of being. You might be thinking this is easier said than done with various professions that are considered ‘high stress’.
Yet, making an effort to reduce stress and keeping your emotions sound will go a long way to maintain your health down the road. Take a vacation if you find that you have been working too hard. Negotiate to leave your workplace earlier if you have nothing more to do and even if you feel overwhelmed to complete everything in a day, delegating and scheduling tasks to a manageable level will not only helps you reduce stress but also helps you to achieve a more balanced lifestyle.
A person who is fit is not necessarily healthy and a healthy person is not necessarily fit. Health and Fitness are both important and having one without the other is not enough. Start today and make a difference to your life by paying attention to the physical, mental and emotional aspects of your life.