About a week ago I had a discussion with Simon Thakur that touched on many subjects, but one in particular felt important enough to me to write about now. The topic was defining what it means to be ‘healthy’ or ‘fit’, and this is something that gets lots of coverage in movement and fitness worlds, but I do not feel that many people have really hit the nail on the head.
So what does it mean to be healthy? The most common interpretation I see currently is one of aesthetics. The majority of people equate looking good with health, commonly referred to as being “in shape”. It is quite an odd idea though, as under close scrutiny, it is not so much a picture of health but a picture of economic success. These days in the western world, to look healthy means to be lean, be of a large stature and muscular (for males) or of a small stature and very thin (for females), and typically to have an even tan. The implication is that you are wealthy enough to afford a personal trainer, and you can afford holidays to exotic locations so you have a tan. The silly part is when these people who look incredible are far from a picture of health, often unable to complete even basic movement patterns such as the ass to grass squat, a basic human resting position.