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Being Fit vs Being Healthy

Last updated 5 years ago

Health and fitness.……does one cause the other? Well, that’s up for debate. While related, your fitness and your health are very different.

Fitness is defined by your cardiopulmonary capacity — how much oxygen you can breathe in and circulate. The more oxygen you can take in, the better your body can function. And you can only improve your fitness by exercising.

On the other hand, your health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being, not just the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. If one area is disrupted, it could throw the rest out of whack, making you unhealthy. At a young age, you can rebound more quickly and get back on track.

An adult is always in one of four categories:

  • Fit and unhealthy
  • Unfit and unhealthy
  • Unfit and healthy
  • Fit and healthy

Within your body, there’s a push-pull relationship between being fit and healthy. Nothing illustrates this better than body weight. If you’re overweight and start exercising, the exertion can help you lose weight and become fit and healthier. So, can a normal-weight individual be unfit and unhealthy? Yes. Here’s an example:

Kathy has a stressful job (a risk for high blood pressure) and eats poorly (high fat/cholesterol), but she’s not overweight. However, she’s inactive (unfit). Because of all that, she’s probably emotionally and mentally unstable. As a result, Kathy is probably at risk for heart disease (unhealthy). If she exercises, eats better and manages her stress, Kathy could become fit and hopefully healthy.

Fitness can improve your health — to a certain extent. However, being healthy does not improve your fitness. Sure, being healthy makes it easier to get fit, but ultimately, you have to put in the sweat.

Before you do anything, visit your primary care physician and talk about your current health status. He/she can suggest which foods are good for you, how much exercise is recommended and if you’re at risk for any diseases or health issues. Together, you can determine the best course of action to reach your goal: fit and healthy. 

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Disclaimer: The materials provided are intended for informational purposes only. You should contact your doctor for medical advice. Use of and access to this website or other materials do not create a physician-patient relationship. The opinions expressed through this website are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the hospital, medical staff, or any individual physician or other healthcare professional.
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