When we, as a society, talk about being fit, we have a distinct image about what that means.  Abs of steel, thin, the ability to undertake impressive athletic activities, and working out everyday are some of the traits many believe are required to being fit. Yet this is not an accurate depiction of being fit.  Fit can look and be different for different people.

For many doctors being fit means having the cardiovascular efficiency, endurance, capacity, flexibility, strength, and ease of movement to do the activities needed for daily activities and to enjoy life.  None of these aspects can be evaluated just by looking at the person.  Many thin people struggle with various aspects of these requirements while some people with larger bodies are very strong and capable of undertaking all sorts of activities and athletic endeavours.  If you are able to do the activities you need to do and enjoy doing to live a full life then chances are you are fit for your needs.

Being fit is also a balancing act.  Overdoing it can be just as harmful as not doing enough. Fitness includes rest, proper sleep, as well as good mental health.  Overdoing high-intensity workouts without rest can increase stress, which will lead to fatigue, poor sleep, burnout, and anxiety.

Here are some tips to help you get fit in the way that is right for you.

Pick exercises that address your specific needs:

Ask yourself what you need to live life the way you want and improve quality of life.  Your exercises should support that goal.  As you age, it might be more flexibility and mobility work.  If it is playing and lifting your children or grandchildren then some strength training might be in order.   If you are unsure how to proceed, talk to a certified personal trainer and/or your doctor.

Exercise to feel good and do not obsess about it:

As you increase your level of exercise, listen to your body.  If you feel like you need to rest then rest.  If you feel as though you have to exercise at the expense of family time or rest, it might be time to back off a bit.

Set realistic goals that include rest:

Find an exercise routine that fits with your life and that you are able to complete consistently without overexerting yourself. Make sure rest days are working into your goals.

Focus on how you feel and being able to do the activities you want to do:

This is what will lead to the right fitness level for you.