What is Fitness? What is Health?

What is Fitness? What is Health?

If you are not dead, you exist. And, you exist at some level of health.

Health, as defined here, is not strictly limited to physical health. Health is the word I use to describe the quality of your being in any or all domains.

Three major domains of health for an individual human are Body, Mind, and Spirit. Ecosystems like rivers and forests can be said to have levels of health, too. And now even machines like automobiles and computers will report to their owners regarding their degree of health.

So health is a big idea that can encompass a lot of different areas.

I work as a healthcare provider. Healthcare is a big complex idea, too. Here’s why: Everything is related to everything else. No single thing is an island separate from other things. Everything interconnects and interrelates. As Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Everything inter-is: we exist in a condition of interbeing.”

That means that the health of any part of your life is linked to the health of other parts of your life. We say that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. One very unhealthy link can make a chain unusable. And a very healthy link is good for the chain. All of the aspects of ‘You’ are links of varying degrees of health. Some make you stronger, some make you weaker, some probably do a little of each.

For example, if your financial health  is poor, the odds are high that the stress caused by poor financial health will impact other areas of your life. Your immune system might get depressed making you more vulnerable to illness. Perhaps your emotional health will get stressed. Or, perhaps your relationships will be negatively influenced by your poor financial health- everything influences everything else.

Therefore, we cannot ignore any aspect of our Being. It is all important- from fingernails to friends to finances.

We can be healthy everywhere in all ways. Ignoring anything is an error. And, it is probably impossible to be optimal in all areas at all times- it is a flowing balancing act that changes daily.

That’s where Ken Wilber’s AQAL Map comes into play- it is a map of everything. It gives us a way to look at our lives from a multitude of perspectives. We can gain perspective on where we are and what needs our attention when we look carefully and deeply using the Map.

That includes you and all of your many inter-related aspects.

Fitness is the ability to respond to interactions with the environment. Fitness is found at all levels- from biochemical fitness to spiritual fitness and everything in between. Emotionally fit people can adapt to emotional challenges. Physically fit people can adapt to physical challenges. And so on. Adaptability is fitness.

The current state of your health is a result of your fitness, your adaptation to all of the various demands you have encountered during your lifetime. Optimal health results from optimal adaptation. Poor health (illness) is a result of poor adaptation. Death results from a failure to adapt.

The broadest fitness results in the broadest health. Narrow fitness results in narrow health. Broad health is a more stable and resilient foundation than is narrow health. Strive to establish broad health through developing broad fitness.

Your current state of health is thus a result of how well you have handled Life’s challenges.

And then there is luck. And accidents. But that’s a topic for a different post.

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