Before I get into the ‘Mantras’ and ‘Habits’, I would like to begin by defining what Fitness, Wellness means to me.
There are multiple definitions and explanations on Fitness. Oxford Dictionary defines Fitness as “ The condition of being physically fit and healthy”, “the quality of being suitable to fulfil a particular role or task”.
How do I define Fitness.
It is not just about the body. Fitness goes far beyond physical strength and energy. I define it as a condition or state of existence that is physically and mentally well. It is not only about looking good. It’s feeling good. It is about feeling alive and having the energy and strength to do the things that you are passionate about. It is about being happy, content, having peace of mind. It is not only freedom from illness, but a feeling of positive optimism.
Then what is Wellness.
The Dictionary defines Wellness as “the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as a result of deliberate effort”. According to The World Health Organisation, Wellness is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity.”
I view Wellness as the process of becoming aware and making the lifestyle and environment choices to becoming Fit. It is a deliberate action and dynamic process of change and growth towards a good and satisfactory state of existence which is becoming physically and mentally well. In simpler terms, It is the process to becoming Fit.
‘Fitness is the by product of Wellness”.
Grasping this fact ,that Wellness leads to Fitness, is key to becoming and staying Fit and Happy.
And what about Genes – what role do they play in our state of good health and well being.
While we are all born with a certain genetic disposition, I strongly believe that understanding and comprehending the relationship between our genetic material and environment and lifestyle is essential to becoming fit and staying healthy.
Scientists for a while have been debating between nature and nurture. This question of whether Human Behaviour is driven by DNA or biological factors, or is a result of our environment , lifestyle and learning, has been around for centuries. Are we the way we are because of our genes, or because of our personal experiences and habits that we develop in our lives.
The actual term nature-nurture comes from Sir Francis Galton’s 1874 publication of ‘English Men of Science : Their Nature and Nurture’, in which he argued that intelligence and character traits came from hereditary factors. He is considered to be the modern founder of behavioural genetics. He was influenced by the book ‘On the Origin of Species’ written by Charles Darwin, who incidentally was Dalton’s half-cousin.
Then there is John Locke, who coined the phrase a “ blank slate view”. His view was that humans develop tastes, habits, likes-dislikes, purely from learning and experiences, that humans acquire almost all their behavioural traits from ‘nurture’. He termed this blank slate as “tabula rasa” in 1690 and it is documented in ‘An Essay Concerning Human Understanding’.
Today most scientists and psychologists believe that nature and nurture are connected to each other. It is fair to say that Genes have an influence on the environments and learning that we experience. At the same time, a person’s environment and lifestyle will also determine and also change the way a gene gets expressed.
For instance, your genetic make up, the genes you inherit from your parents, will determine your susceptibility to a disease, but whether you get that disease can be largely determined by your lifestyle. And if, Because of your genes, you may actually get a disease, how your body responds to it is a function of your healthy lifestyle and fitness.
“ a healthy diet and lifestyle can overcome the effects of poor genes”
“ a poor lifestyle can dampen the effect of good genes”.
” genetics holds the gun, lifestyle pulls the trigger”.
Thus, You are a product of your genes plus lifestyle and habits. There is no such thing as “lucky genes”. It’s a lot of hard work, and discipline towards a healthy lifestyle that determines the final result.
Jim Rohn , author of The Art of Exceptional Living, said “ Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live “. We spend so much time and money to ensure our houses looks good. Let us also take care and look after our bodies, our mind, our ‘ home ‘, and get to a satisfactory existence of being happy and physically fit.