What does it feel like to be fit?


What does it feel like to be fit? I get asked this question quite often, and I’ve given a lot of thought to the answer. Because I believe that a robust and thoughtful response could inspire someone to prioritise and improve their fitness and open their world.

Firstly, a definition of fitness in this context. I’m referring to fitness in a physical sense, so literally your strength and cardiovascular performance. However, to achieve a good level of physical fitness, you must also pay attention to your sleep, mental health, energy, body composition and digestion. We call these the Six Signals®. Health is a long game, and should be viewed holistically for true and lasting fitness in all regards. It takes time to make lifestyle changes, even small ones, but if you’re patient, amazing things can happen.

So, it’s a powerful question, but the answer even more so. Nothing is more empowering, emboldening and permissive than developing good physical fitness. Here’s why…

Have more energy

Being physically fit provides you with more energy to get things done, whether that’s in your personal or professional life. Rather than drain your energy, a workout first thing can set you up for a more energetic and productive day. In addition, you all the benefits of increased blood flow, potential EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption – i.e. increased calorie burn post-workout), increased heart rate and the flow of ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters such as endorphins, serotonin and dopamine.

Have more resilience

Our lifestyles require that we are physically fit for the rigours of modern life. The demands made on us in terms of our availability, combined with the pressures to be ‘always on’, mean that it can be easy to become stressed and burned out. Whilst being fit doesn’t mean this won’t happen (or that the demands on your lifestyle should be met), it does mean that you are much better equipped for the tough times and have the resilience to ride the storms.

Have more stamina

Being fit provides you with the stamina needed for much of life. For example, a long day at work, travelling, or a day out with friends or family. Being fit means you don’t need to worry about the physical demands of an exercise or activity because you can be confident you have the fitness to endure it. This is a big one. Knowing I can go into almost any situation with the physical stamina to withstand it is very empowering. This creeps into mental stamina, too! Listen to this podcast episode to learn more about the foundations of fitness.

Your world opens

You can say yes to things rather than defaulting to no because you don’t think you’d be fit enough. This might range from an invitation to run Parkrun on a Saturday morning to a day out at Go Ape with the kids or a game of rounders on the beach. You don’t want to be the one who sits it out because of a perceived or real lack of fitness. Once you become fit, your world opens up and you are more willing to try new things. It’s an incredible feeling!

Operate in your discomfort zone

This is linked with resilience, but a very important point. The ability to become comfortable or have the tools to operate in your discomfort zone is huge. We believe it’s important to regularly challenge yourself in some way to get comfortable with this. Sport and exercise is a great way to do this. Hence we regularly take part in challenging endurance events to keep ourselves sharp. For you this might also be trying a new hobby, joining Toastmasters for public speaking or overcoming a fear such as heights or enclosed spaces. Find out more about how to get into your discomfort zone here.

Enjoy a longer healthspan

Being fit means you are giving yourself a good chance of having a long healthspan. We talk about healthspan not lifespan because health is what really matters, not the total number of years you’ve lived. Maintaining your fitness will promote a healthy cardiovascular system; strong bones, tendons and ligaments; a healthy brain with lots of blood flow; balanced blood sugars and hormonal profile; a healthy digestive system and good mental health.

Suck the marrow out of life

This is one of my personal values; it’s a quote from Henry David Thoreau’s ‘Walden’. Being fit means you have the energy, confidence and strength to let life take you wherever and get as much enjoyment from it as possible. You have options. Your perceptions of what you can and can’t do won’t stop you from living life to the full. The process of taking control of your life and reclaiming your fitness is so empowering that mentally you’ll be much stronger and you’ll have the body to match your aspirations.

The Cadence Wellbeing Scorecard

The Cadence Wellbeing Scorecard is a tool that helps you assess and track your progress in achieving work-life balance, managing energy and improving overall wellbeing. Take the scorecard and receive a free, personalised report with actionable insights you can take into your daily life to optimise your health and wellbeing.

Leanne Spencer is an award-winning entrepreneur, Six Signals® Coach, double-bestselling author and TEDx Speaker. She is also the co-founder of Bodyshot Performance, and regularly speaks to audiences all over the UK on topics around fitness, health, wellbeing, burnout and corporate resilience.

Connect with Leanne on Facebook or Insta, or visit leannespencer.co.uk for more information about her wellbeing keynotes.

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