The foundations of fitness revisited

These tools of the trade can be used to develop the many aspects of fitness.


When discussing aims and objectives with a new client I will ask them, “What does fitness mean to you?” The two most common responses are:

  1. being able to run far (endurance)
  2. having a lean body (hypertrophy with low levels of body fat)

Both answers are important aspects of fitness, but better reflect goals, while only painting a small part of the complete picture.

Fitness incorporates many other components that most people neglect to consider: flexibility, mobility, power, agility, balance, coordination and strength. Each of these components in turn can feed off others in enhancing overall performance, for example, better balance can improve our coordination, which in turn can improve agility. But at the core of fitness, and critical to the interaction of these components, is the relationship between muscle and movement, with muscle the foundation upon which higher levels of fitness are built.

Muscle is vital through all stages of life and must be stimulated to be maintained.  However, losing any fitness components we risk losing a vital element of what it means to be a fully functioning human capable of enjoying all the physical aspects of life. This why throughout our lives it is so important to make sure that we don’t retreat from physical functions allowing us to be able to maintain our movement patterns and help ensure a higher quality of life.

Fitness and the physical benefits it bequeaths is only achievable through a regular routine practiced over the long term, but the good news is that it is never too late to start. Depending on your condition and medical advice, it may mean when you do embark on your own fitness journey you will have a little catching up to do, but don’t be held back by fear, shyness or embarrassment.

We are animals and animals are defined by movement. So, move out of the chair or off the sofa and take a step toward developing the physical abilities of what you were born to be. An improvement in any aspect will bring benefits as well as a tremendous sense of achievement.


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          About the author

Alex is a registered Master Trainer and Nutritional Advisor with Level 4 qualifications in obesity and diabetes. He is also a strength specialist and a Ni Dan in Shotokan Karate.

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