The connection between fitness and health

It has become one of those things you just let pass you by because they are obviously a fact, aren’t they?

Fitness equals health, it is written in all the papers.

Now before I raise some serious issues with that ‘fact’, I would just want to add that I’m actually a very active person and enjoy moving in general and many activities that today are considered sport, only I do them in no particular order or framework for my own pleasure and amusement.

Fitness to all

Since the 1980s we’ve been experiencing a frenzy of fitness like never before. I currently live in northern Italy and even here, you can locate a gym before you can locate a coffee shop, it’s that crazy.

We have doctors, nutrition experts, dietitians, health advisors, fitness advisors, personal trainers all recommending fitness as a cure of sorts.

There are a few things we can say for sure (the stats are there to support me):

  • There are more fitness practicing people in the world than ever before.
  • There are more sick people in the world than ever before.
  • Change is never achieved by doing more of the same, if the original doesn’t work.

The real question we should be asking ourselves given all that, is why do people still believe it is working?

Supporting the claim

Over the years, I’ve heard some heartfelt stories about people being professional athletes dealing with sickness that according to all the experts, they should not be dealing with,

obese people training 4 to 6 ours a day and unable to change their frustrating situation, professional athletes who find themselves dealing with diabetese or heart disease.

The story of Dr. Peter Attia who is a serious athlete who found out one day that sport is not enough to keep him healthy and now preaches ketonutrition and fasting. 
The story of Prof. Tim Noakes who is also a marathon runner who found out one day that all he has been teaching and following is not what makes him a healthy person and had to reconsider everything he knew about nutrition to become healthy again.

What can we conclude?

I often recall my beloved late grandma who died at the age of 101 and never saw the inside of a gym in her life and was generally a healthy person who did not visit the doctor often.

We can obviously conclude that there is not enough research data to understand the connection between fitness and health no matter what people try to sell us.

We can safely say that although exercise is probably good for you, it is not the key to health or longevity.
Interested in reading more about it? You can start with Dr. Aseem Malhorta’s article “It is time to bust the myth of physical inactivity and obesity: you cannot outrun a bad diet”

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