Gyms and Fitness Clubs

Does Fitness Only Mean Physical Fitness?

Here on Gyms and Fitness Clubs, we talk about things like getting into shape, losing weight, getting fit and so on. These usually all fall under the umbrella of "fitness." When most people think of the word "fitness" they think of lifting weights, doing pushups, running on a treadmill and so on. It's interesting to note, then, that the US Army has expanded their idea of fitness to include four non-physical components as well.

Why is this interesting? The Army, up until recently, has focused much of its fitness regimen on the physical, emphasizing physical strength, agility and so on as its primary methods for preparing its soldiers for the rigors and stresses of combat. However, with more and more soldiers coming back from their tours of duty showing various forms of psychological trauma, scarring, and so on, people in the Army's medical division thought that other forms of fitness should be taught besides the physical. This is what led to the creation of the Army's new Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program, which launched in 2008.

As one of the proponents of the new program, Sgt. 1st Class Donald Hammons, said, ""We want you to be the tennis ball, not the egg. We want you to bounce back." To help with this, the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program focuses on four non-physical areas of fitness, namely emotional, social, family and spiritual. The goal of these "dimensions of strength" as they're called is to help soldiers cope better with the stress of combat and deployment, as well as being able to being able to better handle their lives once they return to their families.

It's a very intriguing concept, but how does it apply to those of us civilians who've never served in the military, yet still want to be both physically and mentally fit? There are many reasons, but the main one is motivation, in this author's opinion. If you're happy, emotionally fit and well-adjusted, you'll have an easier time finding motivation to exercise than if you're depressed, angry, anxious and so on. Should you add these kinds of fitness to your own program for health and fitness? That's a personal choice, but honestly, it probably couldn't hurt in the long run.