What does it mean to be fit?
How would you define fitness? Would you say you are fit because you have 6-packs or because you have more energy than the person beside you? Would you say being a size 0 is fitter than being a plus size? Where do we draw the line of “being fit and healthy”?
To be physically fit means to be in a state of health and well-being. Physical fitness is defined as the body’s ability to function efficiently and effectively in work and leisure activities, to be healthy, to resist diseases and to react to an emergency. In simpler words, fitness pertains to all the aspects of life – physical, mental and emotional.
There is no right or wrong definition of fitness, likewise, there is no wrong or right ways of achieving a fitter and healthier life. Some achieve fitness through exercising regularly while some maintaining a diet. Exercising can mean going to the gym daily, doing yoga, cycling, swimming, running or anything else that makes you sweat (walking 20 times to the fridge doesn’t count). A healthy diet could include eating lots of fruits and vegetables or avoiding junk food (although, once in a while is fine).
However, being obsessed with health and fitness is not good. Maintaining a healthy diet means eating regularly and healthy and not cutting out on carbs and calories, because believe it or not in order to run a marathon you need some energy and stamina which you will gain from eating the right amount of carbs and calories. In order for your body to function properly it needs to maintain a healthy weight. BMI or body mass index can tell you whether you are underweight, overweight or within an appropriate weight range depending on your height. Body composition can provide a better evaluation of overall health than weight or BMI alone, so it is important to maintain a level of body fat that is neither too low not too high. Where your body stores fat is just as important as your BMI. According to some research, people who store fat in the waist and belly (apple body shape) are at higher risk of heart diseases and diabetes than those who store weight in the hips and thighs (pear body shape).
Get regular health check up is a good way to know where you stand on fitness. For instance, it is important to get your cholesterol checked up every once in a while. Cholesterol levels can indicate how healthy your body is on the inside. Healthy cholesterol levels include a total cholesterol level between 100 and 199 mg/dL for people over age 21, an LDL cholesterol level below 130 mg/dL and an HDL above 45 mg/dL. A healthy level of triglycerides, which are usually measured during a cholesterol test, includes anything below 150 mg/dL. Blood pressure can also indicate whether you are healthy and fit. Aim for a blood pressure reading below 120/80 mmHg.
Engaging yourself in some physical exercise for 30-60 minutes on most days of the week and eating a diet high in lean protein, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, whole grains, vegetables and fruits, while avoiding refined grains, added sugars and saturated fat can help you achieve BMI, cholesterol and blood pressure readings of ideal range. Somewhat a clichéd suggestion, but making these simple lifestyles changes can bring your body closer to its physical ideal. Although having a cheat day once in a while wouldn’t really hurt because no one can (at least not me) resist hot brownie with cold ice cream.