Fitness versus Health

We wrote this article back in 2004:

Exercise, for most us, mean making regular visits to the health-club and subjecting yourself to cardio workouts for a strong heart, step classes for a firm bottom, or weight training to get rid of the flab dangling around your upper arms and abdominal area. In order to ensure that you attend classes regularly, you make yourself pay a pretty bundle for a class (as you would feel the pinch if you did not attend). That cash you cough up was meant to compensate for that lack of self-discipline to do your own fitness routine at home. But will putting yourself through this entire health-club routine be a guarantee that you are on the road to health?

A walking mountain of muscles does not automatically equal health. In fact, that Ally McBeal( A legal comedy comedy TV series in US from 1997 – 2002, where the lead actresses Calista Flockhart was very skinny)  lookalike in your office may be a lot healthier than those lean tummies who fog up the glass fronts of Fitness Centre every other day. So what is fitness? Fitness it seems is commonly perceived as the ability to do strenuous physical activity that will cause couch potatoes to pass out. The focus is on building up those muscles for strength and endurance. It’s a purely physical thing. Having a trim body does not mean that you are Superman and impervious to disease. Getting rid of fats here and there, and conditioning the muscles does not mean that your body is balanced internally. In fact, you may not realize it, but training in over-drive could probably result in strains, muscle tears or other sports-related injuries.

 

I think health goes a lot more beyond the physical. Six-pack abs does not a healthy body make. Bright eyes, alertness and a cheerful disposition are more distinct signals of health. I guess the one thing that stands out is an aura of wellness and of being at ease with oneself. Health would give you a vitality of spirit that shows up in daily life.

2014 update:

According to Dian Griesel, Ph.D. and Tom Griesel, authors of TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust  (BSH, 2011) : “Fitness does not necessarily equate to health. Optimal health is a combination of many things-both mental and physical. When mental or emotional levels are high, intense physical training may actually add to the body’s stress load “

So what is Health?

I strongly believe that health is a state of balanced, internal flux in the body. This is a state when your blood pressure is just nice, your heart is pumping smoothly, your digestion is on target, your sleeping pattern is normal so that you sleep enough to recuperate after the day’s activities, the list goes on. Briefly, you are healthy when your insides are working at an optimum pace. To achieve this internal balance, the mind plays a pivotal role. If you have read a self-motivational or self-developmental book, you will know what I mean. A depressed person is also rarely a healthy one. If you’re feeling down in the dumps every day, how can your body be functioning well?

 

Getting started on the road to health

The answer to me is unmistakably clear. It is a very, very determined will to change your daily lifestyle – that’s the Golden Secret for you! In your battle to get healthy, your mind is either your greatest ally or worst enemy. “Doing it is not difficult, it’s the thinking about it which made it hard.” Decide for yourself that you are going to break out of your current mindset and get ready to implement some lifestyle changes. If you cannot motivate yourself to do something about your health right now, then nobody will be able to help you. It’s a simple equation. How can another person even hope to help you if don’t even want to help yourself?

That’s right. You need to have self-discipline. Need help? Try this – nine tips to get yourself motivated. No pain, no gain. There are no miracle diets or creams and lotions to do the work for you. Sweat it out yourself. Self-discipline is the one, essential, primary ingredient to start it all off. Without this, your first burst of enthusiasm will likely peter out because there is not enough persistence to sustain your goal.

3-in-1 Activity

Next, find yourself an activity that will engage both your mind and body for a holistic workout. Could there be something that actually works your brain and works your body at the same time? Can you work up a sweat like that? Where’s the soul in getting your T-shirt wet and smelly?

But there really is an answer (for me at least).

Yes, I found it and it’s Taijiquan for me! Taijiquan is the best health insurance you could ever have. Let me lay the cards straight. It’s going to be a long and tough but enjoyable (if you’re willing) road to health. Now read on only if you are determined to make a change for the better, and if you stick with it!!