Many people think of fitness as being the condition your body is in at that moment in time. Being fit means different things to different people usually involving exercise and nutrition. Sadly, the mind is frequently left out of the equation when evaluating fitness levels. Having a sound mind is essential to accurate perception, good judgment and decision-making in both the workplace and personal life.

In essence, fitness is a combination of mental and physical well being. While mental health encompasses the intellectual and emotional psyche, physical health includes the functioning of the bodily organs, skeletal and muscular system. Together, mental and physical health describes the whole person.

There are whole groups of people out there who consider themselves fit. Particularly, people who engage in physical activity on a regular basis regard themselves as fit. Those who follow a healthy nutritional plan, as measured by current U.S.D.A. standards, also consider themselves fit. People who are at a average weight for their height, age and body also place themselves in the fit category.

These publicly and privately held beliefs about one’s level of fitness might not be completely true. For example, people who exercise but do not engage in an activity or set of activities that tax the heart, skeletal and muscular systems may only be partly fit. There might be others who maintain what is considered by the American Medical Association as an ideal bodyweight, yet are nutritionally deficient or carry an overabundance of visceral fat. And what about the group of people who exercise their bodies only to counteract the positive effects by consuming alcohol, drugs or poor diet? Here, both their physical and mental health is compromised.

When considering standards of fitness, why is it important to include emotional and intellectual components? Because without a fit mind it is impossible to fully engage in life and reap the rewards of a physically healthy self. In effect, mind and body go hand in hand with respect to optimal health and fitness.

If you need help with mental fitness in Laguna Hills, please call Dr. Heidi Berman at (949) 716-5150, ext. 1