Is fitness overrated? Is it just a fashion statement? Well one wouldn’t normally say so. But in an age when being fit has become synonymous with having lean, athletic, toned bodies, maybe it is. Or maybe it’s just that since my body is has none of these attributes, I just harbor a sense of bitterness towards those who do have such figures. But is that really so? Stop for a minute and think.

The world is becoming more and more health-conscious. Realizing that we may well be heading towards becoming an obese vegetable (remember Wall-E?) has been quite the wakeup call for people. So while our intake of McDonald’s burgers and KFC’s fried wings hasn’t reduced, the effort we expend in trying to burn them off has definitely gone up. Going to gyms, working out with your personal trainer is the newest fad. You have all sorts of gold gyms, silver gyms, copper gyms vying for your attention, offering annual, semi-annual and monthly memberships to prospective customers. And pray, how many days of that 1 year period do you actually workout for? Now don’t get me wrong. Of course there are people who work out religiously and devotedly and they have my utmost respect. But then there are others for whom it’s just a fashion statement. The gym has become their latest club, the newest gossip station. When fitness becomes a status symbol, something’s going wrong.

Take yoga for instance. What was a physical and mental discipline to relax the body and soul has now become a money-making machine. With yoga classes springing up at every corner, offering Power yoga and Mind yoga and what not, the real crux of the practice has been lost. Same is the case with aerobics. Again there is nothing wrong with going to any of these classes or workshops or routines. What’s wrong are the motives behind going. To stay healthy, to relax the body, to have a purging of stress that must be the incentive. Not because, it’s the ‘in’ thing to do right now.

Then there’s the obsession with a good figure. Again you might think I’m biased here because I can definitely not boast of any zero-figure or even any 1-digit figure, if that’s how the scale goes. But no, even keeping that aside, the standards of beauty and fitness have gone beyond bizarre. Having a waist that can be held between your hands is envious, but what of the crash diets and fasts and supplements that have gone into achieving it? That is not fitness! Just because a person does not have the ideal measurements, does not mean he’s not fit. Fitness goes beyond that. I don’t work out, nor do I diet. Does that mean I’m not fit?
Fitness and figure are not mutually inclusive and synonymous concepts. Fitness is more a state of physical and mental well-being. As long as you are content with your shape, lead a normal healthy lifestyle, with everything in moderation, you should be classified as fit. There’s no reason a plump person cannot be fit if he/she leads the correct lifestyle. The almost unattainable standards of beauty which border on endorsing anorexia have changed the definition of fitness. The world needs to be reminded of what fitness really means. The aim is to stay healthy inside out, not starve yourself and burn out. It’s not about competing with someone or emulating some model. It’s about being healthy in your own skin and loving yourself.

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Kaveri Sharma

Kaveri Sharma

I am a student currently pursuing engineering. Reading is my passion, writing more than just my hobby. On any given day I'd rather be at home, curled up with a thriller novel than out partying. Yours truly :)