Is HEALTH different from FITNESS?
Updated: Sep 10
Is HEALTH different from FITNESS? Can we be HEALTHY but UNFIT or FIT but UNHEALTHY?
Many of us think the terms HEALTH and FITNESS can be used interchangeably but being HEALTHY does not necessarily mean being FIT. It is possible for a HEALTHY person to be UNFIT and for a FIT person to be UNHEALTHY.
What is HEALTH?
As per the World Health Organisation, HEALTH is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
Mental Health can be corrected spending quality time with family or pets, having a good work-life balance, expressing love, pursuing hobbies, listening to music, relaxing, taking a massage, watching a movie etc.
Physical Health can be corrected by cutting on sugar & carbohydrates, getting enough sleep, avoiding alcohol & tobacco, avoiding recreational drugs etc.
Social Health can be corrected by building social relationships, getting enough time for oneself, reducing time spent on social media etc.
Mental Health, Physical Health and Social Health are interrelated. For example, getting enough sleep, avoiding alcohol & tobacco, taking a massage, cutting down on sugar etc. have both, Mental and Physical advantages. We are HEALTHY if all the aspects of HEALTH are fine.
One is either HEALTHY or UNHEALTHY and cannot be HEALTHIER than someone.
What is FITNESS?
FITNESS, on the other hand, is very different from HEALTH and can be defined as the ability to perform a given task. There are five components of FITNESS:
Muscular Endurance: The ability of a skeletal muscle or a group of skeletal muscles to continuously contract at sub-maximal levels for an extended period.
Cardiovascular Endurance: The ability of the cardiovascular system and respiratory system to transport oxygenated blood to the working skeletal muscles for an extended length of time without fatiguing.
Musculoskeletal Strength: The combined strength of muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments, is what makes up this component. It includes muscular power which is defined as the ability of a skeletal muscle or a group of the skeletal muscles to perform against a load or resistance in a given time frame.
Body Flexibility: It can be defined as the ability of the body to sustain a complete range of motion around joints. It can be achieved by not allowing the skeletal muscle to lose its elasticity.
HEALTH Vs FITNESS:
FITNESS is always comparative and is a goal in itself which becomes challenging by the day. HEALTH is not comparative or competitive. One may either be HEALTHY or UNHEALTHY. We may be HEALTHY but UNFIT or FIT but UNHEALTHY. We may be fit to run 10 km. and our next goal may be to run for 30 km. FITNESS goals change depending on our current level of fitness. However, our perpetual HEALTH goal is to be HEALTHY. HEALTH goals do not change. If one is UNHEALTHY the goal is to become HEALTHY.
For example – One may be a diabetic or have heart problems but, may be able to run 50 km. in one go. In this case, the person is UNHEALTHY but very FIT.
There are several examples of FIT athletes dying at a very young age because they are UNHEALTHY. Also, there are plenty of examples of HEALTHY people dying because they are UNFIT.
Now we know the difference between HEALTH and FITNESS.
HEALTH and FITNESS are interrelated but not the same.
One can be UNHEALTHY but FIT at the same time.
One can be UNFIT but HEALTHY at the same time.