Friday, November 1, 2013
Fit As a Fiddle Or Fit As a Fig - Fitness is Defined to Each Individuals Perception
Fitness is a term that is of necessity as individual as the person seeking it. As different as each of us is in our physical and mental makeup so is our desirability to seek out a level of fitness. While many people define fitness as a continually sought after physical shape it is unfortunate that too many folks the term simply defines their ability to walk their pet dog a mile or so after their workday. To some it is the increasing ability to bench press larger and larger weights for more and more repetitions. Unfortunately to others the term means that at any given moment they are free of illness, have no symptoms and have a general feeling of well-being at rest. For the human form it connotes a negative attitude if fitness is defined as being free of disease or illness.Lets begin with the aspect of "adequate" fitness. This probably is what most of the population defines as their fitness goal. The ability to perform daily chores without feeling fatigued. Having sufficient physical ability to meet some unexpected emergencies and still have the energy to enjoy leisure time. Yet even this level of fitness requires some maintenance which is only available through activity rather than a constant level of "rest".By comparison "enhanced" fitness would be that level sought through constant and varied physical activity. If your adequate level of fitness is not acceptable to you then you must engage some sort of physical activity to maintain or increase your level of fitness. While the fitness desired by an individual engaged in afternoon softball games certainly is not the same level sought by a world class weight lifter the sequence is the same. You must begin with your adequate level and then increase it to your level of acceptance through the activity you choose.So while we can easily divide fitness levels into adequate or enhanced we still cannot decide for each individual what the term means to him or her. We can define fitness easily enough with terms but then we are forced with the necessity to measure it. The activity sufficient for adequate is by definition not the level needed to achieve the enhanced fitness. So said we need to establish a measure that each individual will use to measure his or her own improvement in their fitness levels. At some point the individual who strives to improve their fitness needs to be able to assess how far they have or have not traveled towards their goal. One should be able to say, "I am fit" or "I am still not fit", or "I am getting there".There is no convenient method to gauge all forms of fitness. A "norm" can be established that could place you within a percentile of that level but it still would not be an accurate standard for each individual. We are still all different and must therefore perform at different levels. While you could be measured to be within the 86% of the standard you may still be more or less fit than another who has placed within the 80%. And yet standards are a must and are used to a great degree of success.Better yet, individuals should set their own goals within the perceived "norms". Your yardstick of fitness is your own success or failures. How you improve, how you deteriorate of how you hold the line. This should reflect your level of fitness. And each of us does this. If we are bicyclists then we are constantly timing ourselves on the time taken to ride a mile. If we are bench pressers then we seek to add more weight or perform more repetitions to indicate our successes. And if one is a heart disease patient then the level of fitness can be measured as easily as walking a mile rather than three-fourths of a mile or climbing a set of stairs without being winded.We all have set our required level of fitness. We should continue to ask ourselves to improve in that level rather than decline. If we choose to go downhill it matters not whether you are that heart disease patient or a professional football player. Set a goal, set a goal to satisfy yourself rather than a set of capabilities devised by another. But SET A GOAL! Within that goal test yourself. And test yourself always under as close to the same conditions as you can and continue to strive for improvement. And set a goal that is within your reach to accomplish. Simple. If you are the patient or if you are another type of sedentary individual do not set the goal of running a marathon. Set the goal with standards easily reached within a set period of time. Nothing will deter you quicker than a two week goal set to accomplish a physical task that you should train no less than six or seven months for! That would only discourage you and naturally your goal will fall further behind you.Adequate of enhanced. Weight lifter, marathon runner or forty year old executive sitting behind a desk sixty or seventy hours a week. Seek some sort of improvement in your physical life. Your reward will be a greater feeling of self worth, increased ability to perform daily chores and above all you will probably live a much longer life!