Dictionary.com says fitness is “the capability of the body of distributing inhaled oxygen to muscle tissue during increased physical effort.” Merriam-Webster says it’s “the quality or state of being physically healthy and strong.”
I like both of those definitions, but I dislike how much of society seems to equate skinny with fit. Take it from this skinny girl: they are NOT the same.
Exhibit A: my bird arms.
My BIGGEST bicep ever; it took 6 weeks of working out daily to get this much!
Except for my pregnancy, I’ve been within several pounds of my current weight for more than 25 years, regardless of my eating habits or fitness level. It’s not an accomplishment; it’s just a fact of my genetics.
Here’s what irks me: any time I’ve ever made mention of needing to work out, I’ve heard, “You don’t need to work out!” Followed by something along the lines of, “Gosh, I wish I was that skinny” or “What are you, like a size 2?” I know it’s meant as a compliment but it misses the point entirely.
Exhibit B: genetics courtesy of my parents.
Me and my skinny dad, both seriously stylin’ in this photo.
Like me, my dad was always “skinny” — but when he first started running in his late 30’s, he couldn’t even make it past the mailbox. Soon, however, he was running local road races (like the Peachtree, earning him that t-shirt in the photo), and even ran an unofficial marathon. At 70, he could jog 5 miles up the mountain behind his house every day. That was some serious fitness.
My mom, for the record, has always been slim, too, though also like me, her fitness level has waxed and waned through the years.
What is fitness?
- Fitness means improving my quality of life.
- Fitness means having energy to do the things I need to do.
- Fitness means not dragging through every day feeling exhausted.
- Fitness means being able to ride a bicycle around the block without feeling like my lungs will literally burst.
- Fitness means being able to keep up with my kids — and future grandkids.