How Fitness Promotes Healthy Competition & Achievement

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

In this lesson we review ways fitness promotes both achievement and healthy competition. We also discuss some of the other positive benefits of fitness and elaborate on healthy alternatives to risky behaviors.

Starting Out and Benefits

Have you ever wanted to start training and run a marathon? It would not only improve your fitness but also provide many other benefits as well.

Physical activities can offer:

  • achievement
  • competition
  • healthy alternatives to risky behaviors
  • personal challenge
  • positive social interactions
  • satisfaction


Health versus Fitness

If we are going to learn about fitness and healthy competition it is imperative that first we explain the two terms in detail. Many people actually confuse the terms health and fitness and tend to use them synonymously. However, they have two clear and distinct meanings.

  • Health is defined as the condition of being well and free from illness or disease.
  • Fitness is defined as being healthy; in good physical condition resulting from exercise and proper nutrition.

In other words, you can be fit, or possess fitness, but not be very healthy at all. For example, you could train every day and be quite capable of running a 5K race (3.1 miles) in 19:30, or under seven minutes per mile. This does not mean that your arteries are not clogged. You might eat junk food every day, smoke and drink excessively, have high cholesterol, and be in danger of a heart attack or stroke. This does happen to athletes every year, albeit at a much lower rate than compared to couch potatoes.

Conversely, you could be incredibly healthy and have low blood pressure, low cholesterol, and very clear arteries. You might eat a healthy diet and even employ a registered dietitian. However, you may not like exercise at all and are not able to run a 5K race in 32:00, or over ten minutes per mile.

Genetic Component

Ultimately your goal may be to have both health AND fitness. In this case you would not only eat well, but also exercise. Unfortunately, there is a genetic component at play that we can not control. We inherit our genes from our parents and this determines quite a bit of our health and fitness makeup. Some experts even believe genetics count for 50-70% of our health and fitness abilities. Other experts completely disagree with this and think the numbers are lower. The good news is that we can all still control quite a bit of our health and fitness, whatever the percentage may be, by eating a healthy diet and exercising.

Road Races

Lately, an extremely popular event for promoting healthy competition and achievement through fitness is undoubtedly the road race. Road races have become a way of life today for millions of athletes. The 5K (3.1 miles) and 10K (6.2 miles) races are extremely popular and so are half-marathons (13.1 miles), as well as the more difficult, full marathons (26.2 miles.) For some, the goal is to simply go out and do your best, while others work to win the races. Either way, road races promote healthy competition, yet at the same time create a positive, interactive environment. Other athletes and people from the community not only support you as a runner, but also attend the event to cheer you on. You may even try to set a personal best time, or personal record (known as a PR) for the race, which can provide you with feelings of achievement and satisfaction.

Dance Competitions

Besides road races, another very popular way to compete and interact socially is through the sport of dance. There are ballroom dance competitions, line dancing, and many other forms of dance. Dancing tends to lead to positive social interactions. There are two factors that are involved:

  • Bonding
  • Synchronicity


Now, it seems obvious that people that enjoy the same type of music and like to dance are going to enjoy spending time together and bonding. However, scientists have found that it can go much further. They discovered that when a group of people danced at roughly the same number of beats per minute (bpm) that they actually felt closer to one another. What is even more fascinating is that this happened even if they danced different moves. It was not the type of dance moves that mattered, but the tempo. Dancing can also release endorphins which cause a pleasurable feeling similar to the famous 'runner's high.' Furthermore, the scientists discovered that a person's individual 'self' may become blurred as they feel more a part of a larger group when dancing.

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