Fit and Healthy Image - V2

Do You Know the Difference Between Being Fit and Being Healthy?

If you don’t know the answer, you’re not alone. Most people believe the words are synonymous but there is an important difference. Fitness is more a measure of your physical capability or your ability to perform specific tasks well, rather than a measure of well-being. Healthy is the absence of disease, both mentally and physically. This means no injuries, no disease or issues, basically an overall good mental health and well-being. It’s important to note that an athlete can perform with injuries or have lots of mental health issues (e.g. depression or drug dependencies) and still be fit but not healthy. Fitness is almost entirely a result of action. Food and drink do have an influence, but the main way of increasing your fitness level is through exercise. In return, by increasing your fitness level you can give a boost to your health such as a reduction in cardiovascular disease, reduction in diabetes by increasing glucose uptake, and reducing the risk of colon cancer by increasing gastrointestinal transit time, just to name a few.
Fred Hahn made a great contrast example in his book “Slow Burn” of two individuals, James Fixx and Orson Welles, who one was fit and not healthy and the other healthy (genetically) but not fit. An example of how a person can be fit but not healthy is in best-selling author James Fixx, “The Complete Book of Running”. Mr. Fixx is credited with helping to start the American Fitness Revolution back in the late 70’s. Mr. Fixx died at the age of 52 of a massive heart attack after his daily run on Route 15 in Hardwick, VT. Here was a man who was extremely fit but in failing physical health. Looking at the opposite end of the spectrum. If you take a man such as Orson Welles. Who lived a much longer life but with a poor level of fitness. Orson Welles was diagnosed to be morbidly obese in his 40’s, weighing in around 400lbs, he had asthma and his travel was restricted by other aggravated health conditions. Orson Welles did not die until the age of 70. Genes can play a significant role in your health profile. There are, however, actions you can take to influence and improve your health. Eat right, drink plenty of water, get plenty of rest, and, yes, exercise to make the changes to your health that are within your control. As we age, the best combination is not to be fit or healthy, it’s to be fit and healthy.

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