What Is Fitness?

 In Health

It appears a simple question, what is fitness? In a world where everybody lauds technology and spending big sums of money, let’s consider the cheaper approach. Ann and I have just completed a big run. This run challenged us; could we cope as two oldies? What about the trip hazards, the thousands of them? Whatever, we climbed up to Derwent Edge, then over gritstone boulders to Back Tor, and then dropped over remote moorland back to Ladybower Reservoir. It proved to be 10 miles with over 1200 feet of climbing. We took over 2 hours, were tired but exhilarated, not least by the amazing scent of the heather. You might ask what has all this to do with fitness? We never sprinted, ran fast or broke any records. However, the body understood the demand we made of it; then it compensated for that effort.

At rest

I slept well that night and woke up at 5 am. My pulse felt slow so I tested it over one minute. It was 46 beats. So what, you might say! However, that slow pulse happens to be 5 beats less than two and a half years ago. That was the compensation. Over that period we have run 2,216 miles and climbed over 400,000 feet. The body is a machine and it grows stronger, or weaker, depending on how you treat it. You don’t need a gym or expensive exercise equipment. However, you do need discipline, the ability to keep grinding on and on. You have to believe, to talk yourself into a mindset about feeling fit and well. It helps to live in Bradwell where climbing about 12,000 feet each month is a piece of cake. A reducing pulse rate tells you all you need to know.

What is fitness?

All too often people relate exercise to punishment. When we were running up near Back Tor we met a youngish couple. The man said, “that looks like hard work.” Ann responded, “no, this is the easy bit, across the top”. He could not see that we were exhilarated, both in our 70’s but still running. We absolutely love that feeling and never believed that we could keep going so long. Eating plenty of protein helps. It will have to end but we will enjoy ourselves to the very finish. If I end up in a nursing home, I will reflect back on this period, and smile!

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Brown KnollAdventures in running and ageing