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There Is a Big Difference Between Being 'Fit and Being 'Healthy'.

A lot of  people believe being healthy and being fit are one and the same. In reality, they can be separate states of physical being. You can be really fit, and not very healthy, and you can be very healthy and not very fit. The best result is when a person has a balance of fitness and health, this requires us to identify and understand the difference between fitness and health.

Health has been defined by the World Health Organisation as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. It includes aging well, longevity, quality of life, freedom from pain etc.

Fitness, on the other hand, is defined as a set of attributes that people have or achieve that relates to the ability to perform physical activity. Some people are very fit, but they have poor health due to taking supplements with harmful ingredients, bad nutrition, stress, lack of sleep etc. Fitness is made up of many components, and the following factors need to be considered when discussing fitness levels:

  1. 1. Endurance (Cardiovascular and Cardio-Respiratory): This is your body’s ability to use and deliver oxygen to your body.
  2. 2. Stamina (Muscular Endurance): This is your body’s ability to store, process, and use energy.
  3. 3. Strength: This is the ability of your muscles or muscular unit to apply force.
  4. 4. Flexibility: The ability to maximize the range of motion of a joint.
  5. 5. Power: The ability of your muscles to maximize their force in a minimum amount of time.
  6. 6. Speed: The ability to minimize the amount of time it takes you to accomplish a task or movement.
  7. 7. Coordination: The ability to combine several different movement patterns in a single distinct movement.
  8. 8. Accuracy: The ability to control a movement in a given direction or intensity.
  9. 9. Agility: The ability to minimize the time going from one movement to another.
  10. 10. Balance: The ability to control the centre of gravity of your body in relation to your support base.

Fitness involves activity of some sort that stimulates various systems of the body and maintains a certain condition within the body. Health, on the other hand, involves every system of the body and is only achieved through a lifestyle that supports health. For instance, if a client of mine tells me that they have neglected to eat properly, ignored the fat content, and ate mostly processed foods, all the exercise in the world couldn’t possibly correct the damage done from such a lifestyle. Exercise won’t remove the damage from chemicals, or improve immune system damage or weakness from depleted foods. Only sound nutrition can support good health, as well as adequate rest and recovery and mindfulness techniques for stress reduction. I cannot stress enough the importance of reducing stress to improve overall health. 

Fitness can support health and will improve health if it is part of a balanced way of life that includes good nutrition, adequate water, rest, recovery, sleep, community and family support, time outdoors in nature etc . Our health is mainly the result of thousands of daily lifestyle habits and  decisions.

As you continue on your personal health journey, ask yourself this simple question: “Am I on the road to becoming fit and healthy, or just fit?” If your answer is “just fit,” try incorporating other aspects of wellness into a more comprehensive plan that revolves around the combination of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.

If you would like to book a free health and lifestyle or food coaching consultation then get in contact with us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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John Cawley

John Cawley

John Cawley is the founder of Plant Based Life. John is a Personal Trainer that believes every weakness can be turned into a strength and is passionate about instilling this belief with all clients. John has a lot of experience in helping clients who have had injuries, and is dedicated to helping everyone keep moving and leading a healthy lifestyle, with a big focus on movement, mobility and functional training.