What is Fitness in the eyes of this San Diego Personal Trainer?
Fitness is measured in many ways. Body fat testing (associated with weight loss), cardiovascular and muscular endurance, pure muscular strength (Power Lifting), Bodybuilding, aesthetics, Tri-athletes are to name a few. Is Lance Armstrong more of a fitness poster boy because of his freakish VO2 Max or is the MMA fighter who is a master of both grappling and Ju Jitsu the most elite athlete. Is fitness defined by athletic prowess? What of the Bodybuilder with 4% body fat and muscle definition that even the Greek Gods would be jealous of.
Physical Fitness is defined in Wikipedia as: a general state of good health, usually as a result of exercise and nutrition. With this definition all of the above athletes would be considered physically fit. The Wikipedia biological definition of fitness is: an individual’s ability to propagate its genes. By this definition the 'Octo-Mom' and Kate of the former 'John and Kate +8' would win any fitness competition. I do not know of any San Diego personal trainer that would want to take on this task.
What is my definition of fitness?
Can you do all of the activities you wish to do, with high intensity, ease of movement, and grace while maintaining an injury free state? This also goes along with postural stresses. If you sit at a desk all day, does your neck or back ache? In my definition, if so then you are not at an adequate fitness level to support your spines resting postures. Remember, I am a physical therapist, so posture is a big component in my fitness analysis.
I have a few current clients at our San Diego personal training studio who are over 65 years of age. Back in my teens and early 20's I would have considered these individuals unfit to say the least.
But now I sincerely appreciate how these wonderful people maintain their health and vitality. One of those clients has been working feverishly out in Anza Borrego, in the sweltering heat, laying irrigation piping. He has had to dig many a hole and who knows what else it takes to irrigate a desert climate. Three others are rabid golfers; whose enthusiasm for a sport I am terrible at amazes me. These women are definitely not unfit. Lastly, one woman I train has an unbelievable zest for life. She radiates optimism and relishes the opportunity, even if challenging to better herself. She is not happy with her own fitness level at this time, but each session she states to me "how much better and energized" she feels now that she is regularly exercising. What has improved more than anything is her self-esteem and confidence in her abilities. She truly inspires me.
When I really think about it, my Mom actually exemplifies all of the above attributes. She is now 70 years old, has never belonged to a big box fitness gym, but has the vitality of most 16 year olds. She gardens, golfs, walks the dog daily (usually over 2-3 miles, rain, snow or shine), and still runs a home builder's magazine.
Even if Lance Armstrong wins the Tour d' France, to me he is no match in Fitness to many of my current clients and good ole Mom!
By Greg Sterner, Owner, Physical Therapist
Fitness Together-Point Loma
2750 Dewey Rd. Ste 101
San Diego, CA 92106