The World Health Organisation (WHO) states ‘Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’
From a purely physiological perspective the human body requires 50 Essential bioavailable nutrients to maintain, repair, detoxify and grow itself (2 essential fatty acids, 9 essential amino acids, 21 minerals, 13 minerals, a fuel source, dietary fibre, water, sunlight and oxygen). These are required in individual quantities and lifestyle factors will affect their demand e.g. being sedentary Vs being a strength athlete.
The Health of a dynamic organism is a physiological state that perpetuates the necessary biological balance between catabolism (cellular breakdown) and anabolism (cellular building up). Catabolic stress is a necessary component of health that increases DNA repair!
There is no direct link between health and fitness. They are not synonymous. Professional athletes can have supranormal levels of fitness but in the process of attainment can undermine their health, being in an imbalanced hypercatabolic state.
is the body’s ability to withstand, recover and adapt to environmental stressors both mechanically and metabolically. The bodily state of being physiologically capable of handling challenges that existing above a resting threshold of activity.
Exercise is a physical stressor, a purposely manipulated activity that stimulates the body to produce positive (advantageous) adaptations. This improves healthy bodily functioning, strengthened immunity/infection resistance as well as greater fitness capacities. That is if appropriate adaptation (anabolism) is followed i.e. quality rest and sleep. This elicits life’s higher possibilities. Excessive exercise (chronic non-recovered stress known as overtraining) or exercise that induces injury can undermine health and your fitness potential. Highly repetitive exercise (e.g. long distance running) performed frequently will lead to increased wear and tear (chronic hypercatabolism), reduced health and increased injury susceptibility.
A professional exercise prescription should take into account your current fitness status, your training history, your specific fitness related goals, realistic deadlines, the suitable exercise dosage (training intensity and volume), your current training/sporting phase, postural/flexibility imbalances, injury/contraindication considerations as well as any exercise preferences and dislikes.
We have evolved to expend energy to acquire energy. A work-based way of short intermittent, high muscular exhaustion bursts, followed by long periods of rest. In today’s social engineered environment we lack the mechanisms that drive our innate physiological that bring about health, with food in abundance & labour saving technology etc. Therefore a lifestyle that incorporates regular exercise, wholefoods nutrition and de-stressing mindfulness is one that permits optimal health and fitness.