There is a significant difference between concepts of health and fitness. Health refers to the level of functional or metabolic efficiency of a living being. A healthy person tends to live longer and have a higher quality of life than an unhealthy person. It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Exercise and healthy eating are two critical parts of being healthy. Your sense of humor and your stress management techniques are also critical features of overall health.
Fitness, on the other hand, is not about general health. Fitness is about the level of fit that your body has in relationship to a specific task or set of tasks. The measures of fitness for a baseball pitcher are quite different than the measures of fitness for an offensive lineman in football. There will most certainly be overlap, but there is a big difference between extremely fit players in these contexts. If you try to place a baseball pitcher on the offensive line, you are likely to end up with an injured pitcher. He is fit for one task and not fit for the other.
Everyone should have the goal of being healthy. As a runner, however, you want to make sure that you are fit for the task of meeting your running goals. This requires all of the aspects of general health, but also includes running-specific measures of fitness:
- How fast can you run a mile?
- Are your core and hip muscles strong enough to stabilize you during a run?
- If you plan to run a marathon, have you practiced processing your calorie intake quickly and efficiently?
- Can you maintain a certain pace for a certain distance?
The specifics of your goals will help you determine the measures of fitness that you should be tracking. Your training should keep you healthy, but it should also move you towards measuring up to the specific fitness to the tasks set forth in your goals. Accordingly, you can’t just exercise and expect to move towards your fitness goals. Swimming is good cross-training, but will never replace specific training runs in moving towards your specific running goals.
Determine your level of fitness.
Train to improve your health and your fitness.
Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!
The Gift of Running,by P. Mark Taylor, is available in both paperback & e-book
– Paperback Version – Amazon.com $9.00
– Ebook Version – Kindle Store $2.99
– Ebook Version for Nook $2.99