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The Real Definition Of Physical Fitness
Many people have their own definition of fitness. The problem is that most people have subconsciously picked up their definition of physical fitness from the media. In my experience, any thought or belief brought on by the media isn’t the one you should believe. The media tends to give us the wrong perceptions about almost everything. We subconsciously pick up on the subtle innuendos on fitness and they become lodged in our thought process. Things such as “if you don’t have 6 pack abs, you aren’t in shape”, “only those with huge muscles are physically fit”, or “big muscles are what make a person strong”.
Every person, whether they know it or not, holds a belief system dictating what they think a physically fit person should look like. Most of the time this belief excludes people with a little more fat than would be expected from someone with amazing levels of fitness. The majority of individuals think that the only people who are really strong and in shape are those with big, bulging muscles.
Although there are still some bodybuilders with a combination of big muscles, flexibility, and great endurance – it’s becoming a rare occurrence. Most people train for one specific goal, which is to get big muscles. They might be great in the gym, but what happens when they actually have to use their muscles in a real-life situation?
Physical fitness, in my mind, goes way beyond the boundaries of what happens when you’re working out. It involves how your body reacts to situations and how effectively it can work as a whole.
My Definition Of Physical Fitness
When I think of total physical fitness, looks don’t play a huge role in it. Sure, having a great body is a good sign that you’re in shape, but there are plenty of people who others would consider “fat” or “not big enough” who possess amazing abilities when it comes to fitness.
To me, the definition of physical fitness is having the total package. It’s the ability to be able to use your body in any given situation. It’s the ability to get out of a bad situation in which you need to use a combination of strength, endurance, and possibly flexibility in order to survive something. If you can run a marathon but can’t sprint 100 yards without passing out, what’s the point? I’d like to know when in your life you’re ever going to have to run a marathon for survival.
There are many different types of endurance and strength. For example, you have short and long-term endurance. You have explosive, reactive, maximal, and endurance strength. In my mind, to be physically fit means you have at least an average development in every single one of these areas.
Notice how this doesn’t require you to have your abs so defined that people’s jaws drop as you walk by? It isn’t imperative that you’re as “ripped” as possible – that’s just something that comes naturally as a result of this type of training your body.
I know of people who were “fat”, yet had the agility and strength to do a 1-handed handstand. There are boxers today that have a good amount of fat on them, but can fight through an entire boxing match.
This is the same for skinny people. People might look at me and think “he’s not that big; he’s probably not very strong”. I don’t have huge muscles because I don’t train or eat for big muscles. I train to have fun, and in doing this type of training I have gotten a lot stronger, more flexible, and I impress people with some of the things I can do. Friends at work are bewildered by some of the exercises I perform because I don’t “look” that strong. I could build more muscles if I wanted to, but right now it’s not a priority of mine. I’d rather gain the strength, and then work on building muscle.
The next time you’re in the gym and feel yourself judging somebody else based on their looks, take a time to realize that you may be wrong about them. Physical fitness is something you can’t perceive at first glance. Be willing to set your beliefs aside for a moment and try incorporating some new exercises into your current workout routine. Your body works as a whole, and you should train it as such. Try doing this and watch your current physical fitness levels soar.
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