Health and Fitness are words often used together implying that if you have on then you will also have the other. But this may not be the case. How many top endurance runners, powerlifters, and gymnasts, to name a few but not to pick specifically on these sports, have regimes that have no focus on health. To be a top athlete in any sport one often has to forgo the needs of a well rounded health programme to gain maximal performance in the chosen discipline.
This is not to say that top athletes are unhealthy, merely that the goals are different. For us normal people who want to live a healthy long life, fitness is an important part of that goal. But it is separate to health. To be fit and healthy means you need to be doing fit and healthy things. Is going to the gym 3 times a day and thrashing yourself into a sweaty pile of flesh on the ground a healthy thing to do? Maybe not.
However for long term health Strength is important as is joint mobility and muscular flexibility along with the ability to perform some physical exertion without being in pain for the rest of the day. Remaining functional in your movement patterns is very important for a healthy long life and being able to do it for short and long durations is a result of the fitness you have.
Chasing “Fitness” may become unhealthy when it becomes all consuming. Healthy movement should be part of our health regime but it shouldn’t leave us rolling around in pain afterwards and certainly shouldn’t leave us walking around in pain while we wait for the next hour to get ‘Fit’. I have often felt uncomfortable when I see gyms or t-shirts extolling how a workout would break you or how pain was something that would make us better. I get that mental toughness can be built through adversity but I question if thrashing ones body on a daily basis has benefits for long term health.
Your gym is everywhere so move, pick-up something heavy, go for a long hike, sprint a little, swim, bike, climb trees and do it with friends and family. And most importantly do it for as long as you are breathing. Oh and stay away from sugar.