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Making Sense Of It All

In the world of all the talk and hype of health/wellness and fitness, one of the hardest things is actually wrapping our heads around the vagueness, vastness and the even the meaning of these three simple words . What is health? What is wellness? What is fitness? Furthermore, if and how do they really relate? Though these terms all have similar definitions, there are some meaningful differences worth looking at.

For years, health was thought of as just the absence of disease. Truthfully, I am not sure that is very satisfying to know that you are only “absent of disease.” Certainly, for someone who is struggling with a serious disease such as cancer, eliminating that from one’s life would be a huge win. Thank goodness, however today’s reference to health means a bit more. Health is a total state of life that encompasses physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-

being. The ability to lead a productive and enjoyable life is the essence of being healthy. In other words, it is a total package.

The term wellness generally refers to change and growth directed towards health. Not to get into the weeds too far with this explanation, a “wellness plan” would be a plan that would be directed towards overall health. Wellness can also be thought of as something that is goal oriented and the desired result would be overall health. Allwork and Editor Cecillia Amador expands on this idea and how it actually relates in a specific way to us on the job and in our careers. She describes The 7 Dimensions of wellness in the workplace as a very multidimensional approach to wellness.

So where does that leave us with fitness? Fitness can be seen as the ability to carry out life’s demands without undo fatigue and stress on the body. On first look, you might think it would be easy to identify someone who is fit. We typically think of someone as being fit who has that “body builder” look. Unfortunately, we know looks can be deceiving. Of the three terms, health/wellness/fitness, it is fitness that probably has the broadest definition. However, a person who is “fit” can live life at the top of his or her game. A fitness program would help promote this idea of being at one’s best. Ultimately, at the highest level of fitness, we would be at our very best in all phases of our lives. We could also consider this to be the highest level of health and would no doubt include a wellness plan that pulls everything together including nutrition, strength, cardiovascular health, balance, cognitive abilities etc.

Regardless if we are talking about health/wellness/fitness, it is a common mistake for anyone to focus only on one component. It is not about a singular workout plan, or a diet, or even a well designed meditation program. It is more about one’s life commitment to becoming his or her very best. I have long referred to this as BYOB or Becoming Your Own Best. We are all given and dealt different sets of circumstances. Our ultimate goal should be to make the best version of ourselves with the genetic toolboxes we have at our disposal. The study of epigenetics tells us that we are not doomed by our genetics but rather we have the ability to either turn on or turn off much of our genetic coding. In her book Deep Nutrition, Dr Cate Shanahan discusses how the food we eat and other lifestyle choices control the on and off triggers to our genes and ultimately our destiny.

For now, take charge and live large!

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