Physical fitness is a goal, not a destination

Physical fitness is a goal, not a destination

Physical fitness is a term we’re all familiar with, but what does it really mean?

We are reminded frequently by news and social media of the growing problem of obesity in our country.  It’s a problem that does not discriminate by age, gender, ethnicity, social or educational background.

We have become a more sedentary culture. We are offered technologies at every turn that make it easier to avoid physical activity.

So, although we’re familiar with the term “physical fitness,” is it a term that’s being phased out of our society?  Well, we certainly hope not.

Physical fitness is likely more a goal than a destination. It’s the endeavor to be more active; to decrease our health risks; to strive for a healthy body weight; to improve our flexibility; to optimize our health and allow us to enjoy a longer, richer and happier life.

The beauty of this endeavor is that each of us in some way, either great or small, can improve an aspect of our lives that moves us closer to that goal—eating a healthier diet, adding an evening walk, parking farther from the store entrance, stretching or turning off the TV.

There are likely hundreds of ways that you can tweak our daily or weekly routine to strive for physical fitness.  You do not need a fancy machine or expensive gym membership to begin the journey. You just need the willingness to make simple changes to help live a longer, healthier life.

Components of a physical fitness plan may include:

  • Diet modifications
  • Aerobic or cardiovascular exercises, strengthening or resistance training, flexibility and stretching activities – even yoga and meditation can be added to your fitness routine.
  • Variety in exercise is also important.  Discussing your baseline health with your primary physician is strongly encouraged and having friends and family join your fitness challenge will make it that much easier to stay focused.

Remember, physical fitness is a goal, not a destination.  It is the goal of a healthier diet, a healthier body weight, a healthier you.  Small changes can make a big impact.  With nothing extra needed, you have the power to strive for physical fitness.

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Gregory S. Hendricks, MD

Dr. Hendricks is an assistant professor at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and board-certified sports medicine physician at Marshall Orthopaedics. He has served as a team physician for the Marshall University football team since 2005 and provides sports primary care to Marshall’s student athletes.

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