Health And Fitness: Habit Or Lifestyle? Guide To A Better Life

Author: Paulami Dam, Junior Research Fellow

My seven-year-old nephew threw me some rapid-fire questions. Are health and fitness the same? How are health and fitness related? Why are health and fitness important? How to improve health and fitness? Some questions often pop up in your heads too. So, I thought of writing for you. Let’s begin by clarifying the concept of health.



When we grow up, we begin taking things seriously. Health is one of them. What is health? 

According to the 1948 constitution adopted by the World Health Organization, the definition of health is

"a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity"

which refers to the complete wellness of mind and body [1]. As soon as the research advanced in the field of health sciences, researchers highlighted the misapprehension related to the
definition of health. The Lancet emphasized the fact that health does not imply entire physical, psychological, or social wellness and absence of sickness or disability [2], rather they concluded the impossibility of threat-free individuals recognizing that there may be no such thing as a pathology-free environment. Moreover, health cannot be denoted statistically or mechanistically as it is not a fixed or specified entity. Health can be defined as an individual’s ability to adapt to the environment. It varies from person to person according to their circumstances and functional requirements. Each and every person in this world deserves superior health care. Herein, health equity ensures the best health opportunities for them.


Physical health and mental health are perhaps the two commonly talked-about categories of health, but there are more dimensions according to the source [3]. Types of health are as follows-

  • Physical health
  • Mental health
  • Social health
  • Spiritual health
  • Intellectual health
  • Financial health
  • Environmental health
  • Vocational health

The organ systems and body functions of an individual in good physical health are likely to be at their best. Physical health is strongly interrelated with mental health. Clinically, good mental health points out the absence of anxiety, depression or other psychosomatic disorders. It also relies on a person’s capacity of enjoying and balancing his life, exploiting his full potential and adapting to adverse circumstances. Nevertheless, the quality of life depends on social health i.e. the gratifying interpersonal relationship with others in a community. Spiritual health integrates the physical, mental, and social components of health into harmony. 


Campbell and colleagues defined the term fitness as

“one’s ability to execute daily activities with optimal performance, endurance, and strength with the management of disease, fatigue, and stress and reduced sedentary behaviour” [4].

In simple words, an exercise that is performed to improve physical health is defined as health-related fitness. The American College of Sports Medicine in its 5th edition Health-Related Physical Fitness Manual provides guidelines for the fitness assessment tests [5]. The five components are used to define or measure body fitness :

  • Cardiorespiratory endurance, 
  • Muscle strength, 
  • Muscle endurance, 
  • Composition of the body
  • Flexibility.

Developing a fitness regimen that includes all of these factors will help you get the most advantages out of your healthy daily routine. Consistent health-related fitness promotes a normal body weight, combats clinical issues, enhances mood, increases energy, and encourages better sleep.


We have noted that the health and fitness routine or daily life schedule is often restricted to strict diet and vigorous physical exercise. It is unfair to expect to follow the plans 365 days. Each of us is a human being. Life occurs. Tension arises. Hassle goes away. Things set off the way you don’t expect. Timetables can be disrupted. We have to accept these facts and acclimatize to whatever comes in the way of life. Health and fitness are more than just being on a proper diet or going to the gym. It refers to the complete wellness of mind and body which uplifts the quality of life and pushes you one step ahead in the survival of the fittest. Quality of life depends on the way you feel positive, your level of concentration during working, how you energetically do the daily stuff, the way you invest in your hobbies and travel, your capacity of bearing physical as well as mental load and how you interact with the people and surroundings. Good health helps you to be more creative while also teaching you discipline, agility, and consistency. It would make you look better. It would make you feel better. It would make you perform better. You will be able to present yourself with good vibes. The track of health and fitness you choose not only boosts your self-confidence but also sets an example for everyone around. Your behaviour should inspire your kith and kin to invest in their health and fitness to adopt a better life. As a consequence, there seem to be stronger relations, a reduced chance of sickness, and a community that is generally better and happier. You can begin a cascade effect on others around you by picking up a healthy lifestyle. Be the one to initiate the revolution.


Health and fitness is not only more than a habit, but health and fitness is a lifestyle. It should be considered as the standard of living instead of a weekend hobby or a 15-day go-to challenge. If you enlist health and fitness in your lifestyle, you can maintain it everywhere even if you are away from the delicious diets you make in your kitchen or the weights you lift in your gym. 


Health, wellbeing, and fitness are all influenced by one's lifestyle. Which lifestyle are you going to choose? It is up to you. A bad lifestyle can damage your entire life. In the case of today’s metropolitan life, people don't pause to think of themselves, which is inflicting serious damage to their physical and mental health. 

  • Stress is one of the most detrimental factors. Under constant stress, people may experience physical symptoms such as nausea, stomachaches, increased blood pressure, chest discomfort, sexual issues and insomnia. Moreover, lack of stress management leads to serious forms of mental disturbances e.g. depression, anxiety, paranoia, etc. 

  • Obesity is now prevalent in all age groups due to inappropriate food selections, minimum physical activities and sedentary behaviours. 

  • Digitally accessible entertainments influence children to stay indoors leading to reduced participation in outdoor sports and games. Overuse of gadgets and screen-times put an individual into lethargy and away from reality. Lack of physical health, directly and indirectly, damages mental health.

  • Bad sleep affects one in every three individuals. Job patterns, stress, and technological advancements are frequently blamed for the disruption of sleep. Students find it difficult to sleep early or wake up early. A night of poor sleep not only puts you into mood swings but also affects your concentration. Nonetheless, continuous sleep deprivation or poor sleep leads to major health complications such as obesity, coronary heart disease, diabetes, etc. limiting your average lifespan.

  • Although addiction causes several diseases, people continue to purchase cigarettes or alcohol from liquor stores. Addiction-based studies reported that it induces dopamine secretion, which leads to a state of pleasure and happiness at the cost of people’s health.


However, it is never too late to get back on track. Even if you have never had exercise plans in your daily routine or never thought about a healthy diet, the time is now. From the very moment take an oath to pick up a good lifestyle where you are your main concern. Youths often take their health for granted. Remember whatever you are doing now is because of your good health. As soon as you grow old, you become more susceptible to diseases and disabilities. Hence, investing time in health and fitness should be at the top of your priority list. 


  • Stay consistent with your exercise routine. Set little goals every day and complete them.
  • Find workouts that you enjoy. Fall in love with your gym hours.
  • Be patient while you begin your workout journey. Remember good things take time.
  • Nutrition is important. Choose healthy food. Explore new delicious healthy recipes in your kitchen.
  • Eat little. Eat often. Practice a slow eating habit.
  • Don’t entirely cut off your favourite food. Save the cravings for the weekend’s cheat day.
  • Avoid processed food and excessive intake of sugar, Go natural.
  • Keep your mind happy. Pamper yourself.
  • Do Some meditation and self-assessment before going to bed. Maintain a diary and gratitude journal. Thank yourself and everyone you come across each day.
  • Calm your mind, play sleep music and get 8-hours of good night sleep. 

If you keep yourself fit, you have to invest less in your health care and health insurance. Remember, health is wealth. When health is lost everything is lost.



  1. The World Health Organization. 
  2. Books, Z. (2009). What is health? The ability to adapt. The Lancet, 373(9666), 781.
  3. Wellness at Northwestern (
  4. Campbell N., De Jesus S., Prapavessis H. (2013) Physical Fitness. In: Gellman M.D., Turner J.R. (eds) Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine. Springer, New York, NY.
  5. American College of Sports Medicine (Ed.). (2013). ACSM's health-related physical fitness assessment manual. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


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