Hang on a minute, should that headline not read health AND fitness? That’s what we expect to read, that’s what we normally read. But I would like to suggest to you that health and fitness are two very separate attributes and pursuing one does not necessarily grant you access to the other.
Fitness might best be described as preparation for an activity, often a sport that needs some specific preparedness, skills and strengths. Health describes a state of being which is vibrant, full of vitality, an ability to move without pain or too much suffering; certainly it’s a state far beyond “absence of illness”.
But pursuing Fitness may not lead to great health, nor will pursuing vibrant health definitely lead to fitness or sporting achievement. Indeed, pursuit of one of these paths may be detrimental to the other. Think of the many Olympic athletes who have fallen foul of doping tests; was health their aim or the ultimate accolade, an Olympic Gold? Being the best, and winning the toughest game was their goal. Now think of someone you know you who is kind, well, full of vibrancy and good intentions, free of prescribed medications or regular visits to the physio or osteopath; are they among the most competitive, driven and fittest people you know?
Obviously there is some overlap here and pursuing health or fitness will take you some way on the journey. But at some point, the path divides and you have to decide your course. What is your main aim in life, how important is success, how important is family, are friends what light your fire or is it fame. Only when you know which is your path, can you optimise your journey and make the correct choices to support your path.
For me personally, and at this point, I choose health. What do you choose and how will you support your path?