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your look ● fitness Redefining Your Health The words health and fitness are often mistaken for one another and it’s important to know the difference between the two in your daily routines T he terms “health” and “fitness” are often used in- terchangeably in articles you may find in maga- zines, online blogs or even in the gym, but there are important distinctions between them. Even though health and fitness interact and may even complement each other, they are two very different ideas. Health is a general term describing the overall status of a person. Being “in good health” implies being free from malady, illness or disease, and not suffering from any im- pairment or pain. It’s rather vague, but being healthy does not necessarily mean that you are physically fit. Your over- all health could be determined by several factors—your physical health, mental health, emotional health, social health, spiritual health, and environmental health. And those components of health can be affected by many things—nutrition, stress, disease etc. Fitness, on the other hand, is actually a measure of the amount of physical capability rather than a measure of well-being. Fitness is almost entirely a result of action. Cer- tainly food and drink can influence fitness, but the main way of increasing fitness is through exercise. And increas- ing your fitness has been shown to boost health in so many different ways—reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease, reduction in the risk of contracting many cancers, and boosting the immune system being just three of them. It may seem like a question of semantics, but it is im- portant to know the difference between health and fitness. Being healthy is seen by most people as something that they can’t influence. Fitness model Alexi Gropper is a semi professional cheerleader for the Palm Beach Makos Football team, loves to dance (jazz and hip hop), and was a synchronized swim- mer for 7 years. Alexi holds a Bronze medal from the 2012 US Opens when she com- peted in Las Vegas with her team. person. You can’t just be lucky and increase your fitness. You can only boost fitness by working at it. So, you have a choice—either you want to improve your fitness (and as an added benefit, your health) or you don’t. If you do, you just need to do some work. If you don’t, you can’t blame anyone or anything because you have personally decided not to im- prove your health and fitness. But make no mistake, it real- ly is a choice, and it’s up to you which way to jump. Everyone, from the Olympic Athlete to the Diabetic stay-at-home mom, can improve their fitness by doing more of the correct types of exercises. Vigorous cardiovas- cular exercise increases cardiovascular fitness, so that the more you do, the more you are able to do. Obviously you don’t want to go overboard—that’s a good way of getting injured—just increase your exercises in a steady progression by doing a little bit more each time. FIVE COMPONENTS OF FITNESS HAPPY-GO-LUCKY You may be lucky to be in good health, but fitness is something which is completely within the control of every 80 PAGEANTRY The five components of physical fitness are cardiovascu- lar endurance, muscle strength, muscle endurance, flexibil- ity and body composition. These five components measure