Health Corner – What does fitness really mean? – Nov. 13, 2015

by Marissa Pierce, CFT Contributing writer

When some people hear the word “fitness” various images may come to mind, such as a gym, a health food store or maybe even calorie counting.

The question is, what does fitness really entail?

When we think about fitness, most of the time we think about the physical aspect. When we think about the physical aspect, many of us might only think about being active or working out.

There is so much more to it than that.

Fitness encompasses your entire body and soul. There is a trifecta of physical, mental and spiritual elements. Being healthy means that you take each one of these into consideration and examine them up close on a regular basis.

Let’s talk about the spiritual component first. You may say, “I don’t go to church.” Maybe you don’t feel like a spiritual person, and that’s perfectly ok. That’s not exactly what this part of your health encompasses. Your spiritual health consists of your belief system and your values. These are the things that make you feel at peace with yourself and others. When you have a clear view of what your values are, and you hold yourself to them, you will more than likely feel calmer and happier.

Mental health covers a very broad spectrum. Stress is very detrimental to our bodies but especially to our minds. It is easy to fall into negative thinking and a depressed state when we have a lot going on in life. Events in life may not always go according to plan, but we all go through times of good and bad, and it is important to keep a positive outlook. There are many different ways to combat stress, it just depends on what you like to do and what works for you. Perhaps take some time to meditate or get a massage. Even spending some quality time with friends to get your mind off current situations can help tremendously.

Lastly, physical health is threefold within itself and includes activity, nutrition and sleep. Each of these work together, and they are equally important to your overall health. Balance is the most important thing to remember in order to be as healthy as possible. If you are constantly stressed then that perfect lunch you packed and the gym session you had after work won’t be nearly as effective in maintaining your healthy weight.

We spend so much time in our everyday lives trying to reach our goals and challenge ourselves. Staying healthy is vital to being able to do all the things we dream about in life. Sadly, a lot of the time our health gets put on the back burner when other pressing matters come into play. If we want to be as strong and healthy as we are now 10 or even and 20 years down the road, it is essential that we take a little extra time for ourselves now. Make conscious, healthier choices, and give yourself small challenges. Decide that you will go to bed an hour earlier one night this week. Eat an apple instead of a candy bar. Evaluate yourself and find your weak points, and then take small steps to better yourself.

(Marissa Pierce is a certified fitness trainer and KA contributing writer.)