Health and Fitness
You have probably heard the term “Health and Fitness” used somewhere before. Although the two words are often lumped together, it is important to recognize that they are not synonymous. The WHO defines health as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or deformity. Physical fitness is merely one component of health, albeit an important one that can benefit other components of health as well.
One thing many people don’t realize is that you can achieve extremely beneficial health benefits from exercise well before you experience any drastic changes to your fitness. For example, one of the first things that can happen when you begin an exercise program is a drop in triglyceride levels, which is a good thing for your long term health. This can actually happen so quickly that you won’t even see any fitness benefits at that point, so it can be easy to be unaware of the great health benefits you are gaining from exercise.
Confidence and Happiness
One of the most underrated benefits of improving your physical fitness is a change in mood. It is very common to hear people say how much their confidence, and subsequently their happiness, has increased since committing to an exercise program. There are many reasons for this, some based in biology (i.e. release of specific neurotransmitters), some are due to social changes, and even just a change to a routine can make a big difference.
One reason we like to promote sport-specific exercise is because simply learning a new task can help increase confidence as well. Many people are intimidated by the prospect of going to a gym or similar place where most people are already comfortable with what they are doing, perhaps in better shape, etc. However, we press that everyone has to start from somewhere, and the act of breaking out of your comfort zone and learning something new can have profound effects!
Another overlooked item is the fact that exercise can be social. Even if it is an individual workout, you may start recognizing people who generally workout around the same time as you, maybe there was a group lesson at one point, or perhaps you’re making the effort to arrange some sort of group exercise. In any case, it’s a great way to meet people while benefiting your health and fitness.
We put this at the bottom of the list primarily because we find it can be difficult to stick to a program if the only thing that motivates you is a quick change in appearance. We recommend that you consider this a bonus to an improvement in your health and fitness. Even if weight loss is your goal, focus on the health and fitness and pounds lost, rather than assessing yourself in the mirror. Now, all that being said, we do recognize that an “improved” appearance can help boost confidence. It can also be a rough indicator of fitness, but that’s about it.
The amount of evidence showing that regular exercise, even in small amounts, can drastically improve health and fitness on multiple fronts is overwhelming. If exercise is a substantial lifestyle change for you, we suggest finding something that you think can be enjoyable, that you can progress with as you learn and improve, and that you can set goals in small steps that are smart and attainable. We hope you consider us to help you achieve your health and fitness goals, but at the end of the day, whatever works for you is the most important.