Indicators of physical fitness

There are a lot of different indicators for good health and, unsurprisingly, we tend to focus on the most visible ones when we are deciding how fit we are, or other people for that matter. For example, in your head you could probably decide whether or not anyone that passes you on the street is physically fit, purely based on the way they look. But as we all know, often there is far more to it than meets the eye. 

The same goes for when we are deciding whether or not we are fit ourselves. You look in the mirror or down at the scales and decide whether or not you are happy based on what you can see. Or at least, that’s how it has been done for a long time. The truth is that there is far more to a person’s physical well-being that just how much they weigh and how much body fat they possess.

But just because we are using more and more indicators now, that doesn’t mean that the older ones aren’t still valid. If you believe that you are overweight and therefore physically unfit, then weighing yourself to check is completely fine. But more of our understanding is now focused on what you can’t see, so for example, how you feel generally, how well you sleep and your nutritional profile.

Heart health is a big part of what I am talking about. When you see someone on the street, the chances are that you know absolutely nothing about their cardiovascular fitness. We don’t know what they eat, how often they train, or most importantly, how they train. But we know that the better your cardio fitness, the more efficient your body becomes at getting oxygen to the muscles.

So what’s the point to all of this? Well, it is more about assessing your own fitness than anyone else’s. Because somebody might look at you and believe that you are perfectly fit when you know that isn’t the case, or vice versa. How you feel generally plays a big part here. Being thinner or more muscular might help you feel better about yourself but if you feel constantly tired and lethargic then what is the point?

Health indicators will never tell the full story on their own. No one in any professional capacity can look solely at a persons weight or body fat percentage and instantly know everything about their physical capacity. But a combination of several indicators can point to some logical conclusions. And at the end of the day, this is all about well-being. Looking physically fit is irrelevant if you don’t feel fit as a reward for your efforts.

So when you are thinking about taking the next step in your training, don’t think that you overthinking it by completing a full physical analysis of yourself and consider everything that you want to change. So try and monitor how much exercise you do, what kind of exercise it is, what you are eating, how much you sleep etc. Because they are all important.

And remember, this is all about feeling great in yourself. Not about impressing the people on the street that you are probably never going to see again. If you can honestly say that you feel great and that you are physically fit, or at least working towards it, then the opinions of strangers really shouldn’t matter!

Ollie Lawrence
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