Watching the London marathon last week made me think of this question. Thousands of people (and the odd honey monster) of all shapes and sizes ran the 26 miles and 385 yards. Looking at some of these people (such as shadow chancellor Ed Balls) you would not say they looked fit.
Obviously the two Kenyans who won the men and women’s events Wilson Kipsang and Mary Keitany looked very fit. They are professional athletes and you would expect nothing less.
Fit is seen as the opposite of fat. That is how the media plays it. The ideal look is to be lean and muscular. However, people who look like this may not actually be fit.
Thin people can be fat inside. Whilst the news talks about obesity leading to diabetes (which it can do) there are people with no fat who collect fat within their body around their organs. They may look fit but in fact they are not.
By striving to get fit people can injure themselves as they suddenly push their bodies too far. Muscle injuries, knee pain, foot problems usually ensue as people don’t understand that fitness is a process rather than something that is achieved immediately.
Being fit is not about looking fit. It is an attitude of mind as well as being a daily and lifelong activity. It is not about suddenly deciding you want to lose a few stone.
This is why people throw themselves into a routine for a couple of months and if they reach their goal they stop and put the weight back on.
Being fit can be quite unforgiving. There are no excuses to if you truly want to be fit. You can’t shirk because it’s raining or eat that chocolate cake because it is there. It is a lifestyle rather than an image.
There are people that get addicted to exercising and actually make themselves unfit in the process. Often these people end up wearing ligament knee supports. Not a fit look. Sometimes they need surgery.
If you overstretch the body with high impact exercises you can wear out your cartilage and damage your joints causing conditions like osteoarthritis.
That guy you see jogging every night who looks so fit may actually not be fit at all.
If you exercise and your body is aching you need to listen to it because it knows what it’s talking about.
Fitness is about looking after yourself not about looking fit.