What is fitness exactly? Are you fit if you can touch your toes? Last week, Fat Girl on a Bike devoted a whole post on her blog to trying to decide what the word "fitness" meant. Everyone had a different definition to offer.
A few hundred years ago, the Bacchus in Rubens' painting would not have been perceived as so grossly overweight as we see him today. Back in the days when starvation was a real issue in the Western world, fat was the fit option; it made you fit to survive the harsh times.
I seem to run across fitness articles on British websites rather than from America or other nations. (Are the Brits more fitness conscious? More probably I'm not looking in the right places.) I found this article today: Health and fitness: How do you shape up against the nation?
I thought this article was interesting because it offered five tests you could use to measure whether you were in shape or not. And because most of the tests seemed like something most people should be able to do. But according to a survey quoted in the article, most people can't:
- More than half (53 per cent) of the UK population can’t touch their toes
- More than two thirds (68 per cent) can’t do 20 sit ups
- Over a half (58 per cent) can’t cycle for as much as 20 minutes
- Over a quarter (28 per cent) of women admitted they can’t do up their bras at the back
I'm certainly not in good shape, but even so I can do these things. I'm wondering if this study asked people whether they could 20 situps, or if the researchers tried a different approach. If they offered people $20 to do 20 situps, maybe the people would suddenly discover that why yes, they actually could do those situps after all, thanks for the cash, Mac.
I was going to ask you, gentle Reader, if you could perform these tests. But I decided not to, because a) it's a bit on the personal side and b)most of the people in blogland are a lot more fit than I am, so it's probably a silly question. But do you know a lot of people, real people in the real, non-Internet world, who would have trouble touching their own toes?