How fitness means much more than your appearance

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How fragile is your sense of self-worth? Having six pack abs or a zero figure does not testify that you are fit and healthy. In today’s world, people have a very superficial and fickle idea of what it is to be fit. Surrendering to the societal pressures of looking a certain way and driven by pop culture, we put our bodies to test which causes more harm than good. We pursue unrealistic goals for our body that may not be achievable in the first place, and beat ourselves up for it, leaving us upset and frustrated.

Instead, why not change your outlook towards fitness. The correct parameters to test a person’s fitness should be efficiency and not appearance. A lean or muscular body could be indicators of fitness, but they are not necessarily the only measurement. You would be better off if you think of fitness in terms of what you can do, and not how toned your body is. And it would also work as a great reality check for you when keeping track of your progress on the journey of fitness.

Plus, you can assess your fitness every day as opposed to using weighing scales or other parameters that take time to show any significant results. It will give you that much-needed sense of affirmation to continue doing what you’re doing or to tweak your path for better results.

These questions surrounding your day-to-day activities will help you check your level of fitness and measure progress.

  1. Do you feel out of breath when climbing stairs or running?
    All of us feel breathless at some point when climbing stairs or running as our body needs more oxygen as we go farther, but the threshold is different for different people. The fitter you get, the longer will be your threshold.
  2. Can you bend forward easily?
    A lot of us complain when we have to pick something off the floor. Why? Because, bending sometimes feels like a difficult task for some of us, and that’s not necessarily out of laziness. If you are one of them, you know you need to work on your fitness, no matter how slim or lean you are.
  3. Do you feel tired for most part of the day?
    Your life has become more hectic than ever, we know that. And getting through the day’s activities seems a lot difficult. But, if you are fit, you will pull off your day-to-day responsibilities without showing any signs of fatigue, and still have enough energy to work out and engage in other relaxing activities such as playing with your kids, spending time with family, and so on.
  4. Can you sit down on the floor and get up without any support?
    This is a great way to know whether or not you are fit, and if you continue working out in the right direction, you will notice a sharp reduction in efforts and speed, every time you sit down or get up.
  5. Can you improve your workouts with time?
    We want to get fit. But, at no point, can we say we are fit enough. Plus, after achieving your desired level of fitness, you have to maintain it. So, in short, there’s no reason for you to quit your fitness regime after reaching your fitness goals. You have to do it every day, and when you do something repeatedly, your strength and capacity for those activities increases. If this happens, you are on the right track. On the other hand, if your performance deteriorates with time, you know there’s something wrong.Make sure, you push yourself with every fitness plan, which means, if you started with 30 reps and have reached a point where you can do 30 reps quite comfortably, aim for 40 the next week.
  6. Does your day-to-day activity get hampered in any way?
    Lack of fitness essentially means not being able to live your life the way you want. It could be the clothes you want to fit in, the activities you want to indulge in, getting by through the day without being tired, or as simple as getting good sleep. List down your problems; identify what things are proving a hindrance to your life. Use fitness as a means to reach these goals, solve one problem at a time. And you’ll see that with time, you’ll be living the life you always wanted to live.

A combination of exercises that help build strength (e.g. strength training), muscular endurance (e.g. squats) and cardiovascular endurance (cardio exercises) works best to increase your everyday efficiency. Support that with healthy diet, ample water and meditation, to give you a complete sense of fitness and wellbeing.

Appearance is the consequence of fitness. Not the other way round. Make sure you’re chasing the right thing!

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