Fitness and wellness: a curious combination of words that at first glance seem to be synonymous. In the health and fitness world I see these terms being used individually quite a bit, but seeing them together as a phrase immediately brought questions to my mind. Are the two words the same or different; do they relate to each other and if so how; is there some meaningful conclusion we can draw from their being combined in the phrase fitness and wellness? I am not sure what else we will discover, but I know neither can be achieved without a particular state of mind.
Every quest begins with a point of origin, or in this case a perspective of focus. So let’s establish that we are performing our examination from a holistic health perspective.
Next it would be helpful to establish definitions for each of the words separately. The Webster Reference Dictionary of the English Language defines wellness as, “the state of being in a satisfactory or comfortable condition; prosperous; in good health, or sound body and mind”. This same reference defines fitness as, “the state of being in suitable a condition, prepared, or ready; in good physical condition; as, feeling fit”.
Immediately it is apparent that the terms do relate in a meaningful way. Certainly a key component of a sound body would be that it was in good physical condition. However, wellness goes further and includes concepts and perceptions highly influenced by the mind; comfortable or satisfactory condition, prosperous, and a sound mind. So fitness and wellness relate in the same manner as a branch and the tree it’s sprouting from: fitness is a subset of the wellness universe.
Let’s now examine this idea of the mind and the role it plays in the phrase fitness and wellness. There is no level of fitness that has ever been maintained over a period of time without some degree of physical activity. Physical activity is work. Usually the degree of strength and health (i.e. fitness) of a body can be tied directly to the type and amount of work it consistently performs.
We’ve all thought or heard:
- “I don’t have time” or
- “The weather’s bad” or
- “I don’t feel like it today” or
- “I don’t like to sweat” or my personal favorite
- “I’ll rest today and get right back to it tomorrow.”
There are many others, but you get my point. The acquisition of fitness and wellness requires a lifestyle change for many of us. This means a marked departure from what we have established as usual, customary, normal, or automatic. You know what I mean, no two hour nap after big meals, elimination or decreased consumption of junk foods, no couch potato position every evening and weekend, and establishing a scheduled time and place to participate in physical activity on a regular basis.
Changing one’s lifestyle requires a conscious decision to do so and a commitment to see the change through no matter what it takes. It reminds me of one of my favorite phrases: your altitude is determined by your attitude. The mind is the driving force behind all that we are and ever can hope to become. It is the birthplace and residence of the “self-fulfilling prophecy”.
The quest for fitness and wellness will never be realized without a firmly committed state of mind. The goal or dream of achieving fitness and wellness must be adopted by your “mind’s eye,” visualized as truth and placed at the pinnacle of your priority. Only then can fitness and wellness be attained.