What is fitness? What does being healthy mean?

Last week Samuli wrote about what does it mean to get fit, and this week we go a bit deeper into this topic. Lets start with a try to define health and fitness. The following sentence is one of many descriptions for health.

"How well are you able to perform and recover

both mentally and physically?"

We have been highly interested in being fit and healthy, since being young entrepreneurs we kind of try to learn it all at once - building a brand, creating a career, increasing your professional knowledge (you can never stop learning), trying to find balance between work and rest and trying to include taking care of your physical and mental health. Some days it feels like an impossible thing to do - and the pressure especially mentally is huge! 

However, we are on our way finding the balance. This is why we are curious about defining health and fitness. And here we will sum up some of our learnings this far. 

CrossFit has developed maybe one of the most diverse definition for fitness. Greg Gassman, the creator of CrossFit, also created the sickness, wellness and fitness continuum.

According to the continuum, your health is measured by:

  • blood pressure
  • body fat
  • bone density
  • triglycerides
  • cholesterol
  • flexibility
  • muscle mass
  • etc.

In addition, in CrossFit there are ten physical skills: 

  • cardiovascular/respiratory
  • endurance
  • stamina
  • strength
  • flexibility
  • power
  • coordination
  • agility
  • balance
  • accuracy

You are as fit as you are competent in each of these ten skills. And thus, together with the diversity of skills and the continuum, CrossFit has a quite solid definition for health and fitness. 

Even though, CrossFit's point of view is totally taken care of the measurement of your physical level of fitness, it lacks of the mental side in its definitions. Mental and physical health go hand in hand and both should be included in the definition of fitness. 

We did some further learning and found a vital addition to the continuum. As CrossFit talks about sickness, wellness and fitness in its definitions, illness is not taken into account. 

Lets take a look to the following descriptions:


A great level of health where small fluctuations won't drop you down to sickness. You are not only lacking illness but you have developed a strong stage both physically and mentally to be able to tackle most of the situations in your life. It is less about being fit and more about how sick or healthy you are entirely. 


On this stage you are not sick at the moment and you are able to perform your every day tasks. However, from this level it is easy to drop into sickness. 


We cannot completely avoid being sick, getting a flu for example. However, at this level your your health is restricted and it is pre-state to illness.


This level indicates a serious level of physical or mental illness. 


In other words, the further you are in fitness, the less likely you fall into sickness immediately. Adding illness to the continuum, puts a different kind of tone into describing health. It is not all about the physical side but also the mental health.

We firmly believe, that during the times of fitness hype, the mental side will be the next wave and important addition to the holistic wellbeing (or fitness). Let us know what you think!


Ama & Essi 


Further learning:

CrossFit's ideas about Fitness

A podcast about our responsibility for supporting health (in Finnish)


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