Firstly, I’m referring to fitness in a physical sense, so your strength and cardiovascular performance. To achieve a good level of physical fitness, you must also pay attention to your sleep, mental health, energy, body composition and digestion – what we call the Six Signals®.

So, what does it feel like to be fit?

Have more energy

Being physically fit provides you with more energy to get things done. Rather than drain your energy, a workout at the start of the day can set you up for a more energetic and productive day, as well as giving 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 demand 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. 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.

Your world opens

You can say yes to things rather than defaulting to no because you don’t think you’d be fit enough. 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

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.

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, the confidence and the strength to let life take you where it will and get as much enjoyment from it as you can. 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.

Leanne Spencer

This article first appeared in the December 2017 issue of SE22 magazine.