By Scott Forrester | Contributed
When people think of defining fitness, I think most people put the word in the context of “physical fitness” and while this is a limited concept according to the dictionary definition of the word “fit,” the question remains, what is fitness?
Even if we begin the discussion of fitness in terms of physical fitness we still want to know what the word means.
Is fitness a number of miles run? A number of degrees of flexibility? An amount of weight lifted? A plank held for a certain number of minutes? Health? Aesthetics? Competitions won or pain endured?
Think of an Olympic shot putter or heavy-weight lifter who has a certain body type that has been developed through years of training – these are large, strong athletes. Now think of an Olympic marathon specialist who may not exceed five feet in height and many not weigh much more than 100 pounds. Which one is fit? Notice that each of these athletes has a particular shape they have sculpted themselves.
The dictionary definition of the word fit means suitable for something, for some purpose. The right tool for the job, is the tool that is fit for the job. We can see already that the context defines the fitness.
Continuing with the definition of fit or fitness and adding the biological definition of the word we have the quality of being able to adapt to the environments we find ourselves in. Again, this is context specific and depends on the environment you are in. And now we are speaking in much broader terms than physical fitness. We are speaking in terms of being fit for life and living.
Our discussion so far has brought us to both a universal and an individual definition of fitness. The universal aspect asks, are you fit for all the environments you find yourself in? Can you adapt to life’s many and varied challenges, whether they be “athletic” or not? The individual aspect of fitness asks, what is it that you really want and what would make you more fit for that?
For what purpose do we adapt to life’s challenges, to the process of living? Is it not to live the life you really want? How could you improve the process of living? How could you increase your enjoyment of life? How could you more fully live your dreams? Why not define fitness in its broadest sense this way? Why not say fitness is being fit to live what is in your heart – your dreams? Why not shape yourself this way?