Health and Fitness

Difference Between Health and Fitness

Health and fitness have long been equated and used in conjunction as if both mean the same thing. At best, both are considered as complimentary and thus the phrase health and fitness.

Many of us assume that one flows from another, and if one is fit, he is healthy and vice versa. However, the reality is somewhat different with fitness only being a component of the overall parameters that decide the health of a person.

It is possible for a person to be fit and yet not be healthy whereas a person who looks healthy may not be healthy at all. Let us take a closer look.

Physical fitness is a state of health and well-being and, more specifically, the ability to perform aspects of sports, occupations and daily activities. Physical fitness is generally achieved through proper nutrition, moderate-vigorous physical exercise, and sufficient rest.

Before the industrial revolution, fitness was defined as the capacity to carry out the day’s activities without undue fatigue. However, with automation and changes in lifestyles physical fitness is now considered a measure of the body’s ability to function efficiently and effectively in work and leisure activities, to be healthy, to resist hypokinetic diseases, and to meet emergency situations


According to WHO, health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well being and not merely the absence of a disease or infirmity. This means that, if one is in good health, he is not only free from any disease he is also happy emotionally and psychologically.

If you are healthy, you are in a better condition, to cope with the challenges and stresses of life. You may be extremely fit and agile to perform tough, physical exercises, but if you are not socially fit, you cannot be considered healthy.

This means that it is the physical component of our health that can be equated with our fitness as our mental, psychological, emotional, and social well being mean as much to our health as our fitness. Health is a subjective issue, and it is not possible to measure the health of a person as it involves his social and emotional well being.


We get comments on our fitness when we are in shape and look agile. People who do regular exercises or going to gym to do workouts remain fit, and this is reflected in their physical appearance. It follows then that fitness is a measure of our capacity to do physical work and exercises and it is a component of our health that relates to our endurance, stamina, and power.

You are considered fit if you can jump, run, lift weights and take part in athletic activities. However, fitness does not mean you have to perform physical activities to the standards of Olympics or any other international level.

It just means that a person is fit if he can complete all physical activities in his life efficiently and effectively. It is actually fitness for sport that demands higher levels of agility, stamina, and endurance.

Read Also: 7 Benefits of Exercise for the Elderly

What is the difference between Health and Fitness?

• Health has many aspects such as physical, mental, and emotional and fitness is the physical component of health.

• Being healthy does not merely mean freeness from disease or infirmity as a person’s emotional and social well being also contribute significantly to his health.

• Fitness is measurable whereas health is not measurable.

• Our flexibility, strength, and endurance together constitute our fitness.

• Our capacity to do physical exercises reflects the level of our fitness, but to be healthy, all one needs is the ability to perform physical activities in daily life effectively and efficiently.

• Our fitness is just one part of our health, and that is our physical health.

• Having both health and fitness is desirable but having the fitness at the cost of health is certainly not desirable.

• You can train to be fit, but you cannot train to be healthy

• Being fit does not necessarily mean you are healthy.


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