Fitness vs. Health: It’s More Than Just Exercise
2 mins read

Fitness vs. Health: It’s More Than Just Exercise


While the terms “fitness” and “health” are often used interchangeably, they have distinct meanings.

Here’s a breakdown to understand the difference:


This refers to your physical capabilities. It encompasses several aspects:

  1. Muscular endurance is the ability of your muscles to sustain effort for extended periods of time. Imagine running a long distance without getting winded.
  2. Strength: the ability of your muscles to exert force. Lifting weights or doing bodyweight exercises that challenge you can help build strength.
  3. Cardiorespiratory endurance: how well your heart, lungs, and circulatory system work together to deliver oxygen to your body during physical activity. Activities like running, swimming, or cycling improve cardio endurance.
  4. Flexibility: the range of motion in your joints. Stretching regularly helps maintain flexibility, which is important for injury prevention and overall movement.
  5. Body weight: While not the sole indicator, maintaining a healthy weight can contribute to overall fitness.


This is a broader concept that encompasses your physical, mental, and social well-being. It’s not just about the absence of disease but also about feeling good and functioning optimally in all aspects of your life. Here’s what health includes:

  1. Physical health: This relates to your body’s ability to function properly. Factors like fitness, diet, and sleep influence it.
  2. Mental health: This refers to your emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It includes your mood, how you handle stress, and how you relate to others.
  3. Social health: This relates to your connections with others. Having strong social relationships can contribute to overall well-being.

Why the distinction matters

Focusing solely on physical fitness is just one piece of the puzzle. A person might be very strong and have great endurance, but if they have unhealthy eating habits or chronic stress, their overall health might be compromised.

The key takeaway

Aiming for a holistic approach is ideal. By taking care of your physical health through exercise and healthy eating, nurturing your mental well-being, and fostering strong social connections, you create a foundation for a truly healthy and fulfilling life.

Contributed by Dr. Shariq Masoodi, Prof. of Endocrinology, SKIMS Srinagar, Kashmir.
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