What Does Fitness Mean to You?

What Does Fitness Mean to You?

Have you ever given serious thought to what the word or idea of "fitness" means to you? Perhaps your idea of fitness is a slim waist line, low cholesterol, controlled blood pressure, or a physique covered in feathered muscles. I've given varying degrees of thought over the years to what fitness means to me and its changed at different stages of my life. From high school, to the first and second halves of my military career, up to now; these are very different life stages with very different responses to the idea of fitness.  

I gave it the least amount of thought in high school, but as early as sixth grade at Ed White Middle School in San Antonio, Texas, we were being tested for fitness by being timed during a mile-long run. Back then, I could run a mile in about seven and a half minutes; it was pretty good for my age group. I've always enjoyed running and I began participating in track and field later that year and continued every year until I graduated high school.

Of course we were also formally fit-tested in the military. In 1997, at Charleston AFB, we were tested on stationary bikes. By this point I was a half-pack a day smoker and I was not opposed to an alcoholic beverage or three either. Ironically enough, smokers tended to have an easier time with the bike test than non-smokers due to the fact that our heart rates falsely indicated a healthier response than the average non-smoker. Fitness in the military for me was always an equation of tobacco, alcohol, weights and some level of cardio. It was never perfect, but by the time I retired, I'd been physically active and in pursuit of some degree of physical fitness for almost 30 years.

Five years post-retirement and my overall fitness is better than it was in 2012 when I ran a 3:24 marathon in Columbia, SC. Sure, I have high-blood pressure (thanks to genetics) and repairing my circadian rhythm hasn't been easy after all of the shift-changes over the years. However, I now view fitness very differently than I did before... I'm not fit simply because of my ability to run or lift a weight, I'm fit because I've made running, weight lifting, prayer, and a focus on God foundational to my life; thus, fitness for me, is not a condition it's a style of life

It's the everyday endeavor to control what's controllable and to trust God for ALL of the rest. I've always been a proponent of routine fitness. Eight years ago, I wrote an article for Yokoto, AB in Japan where I proposed habitual fitness as a health-shelter, of sorts, that could protect our most precious physical investments, our bodies (health is wealth). The difference now, is that I understand just how imperative it is for me to also include a relationship with God into my overall fitness-lifestyle-portfolio.

So fitness defined for me is a clean-living lifestyle that is anchored in responsible eating, resistance and cardio training at least five days per week, and daily relationship building with my Lord and Savior. That's my idea of fitness or the pursuit thereof. What's yours?

Habitual Fitness: https://www.yokota.af.mil/News/Commentaries/Display/Article/774374/habitual-fitness-protects-the-investment/

Photo credit (Amol Tyagi): https://unsplash.com/photos/silhouette-of-person-standing-on-bridge-O2j9nCcWz-U?utm_content=creditShareLink&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=unsplash

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