What is the Sickness – Wellness – Fitness continuum and why should you care?

By Kristen Moustrouphis May 31, 2024

When I first saw the image of the sickness to wellness continuum at my L-1 CrossFit certification course, something clicked into place, and my mission became clear: find a way to build the biggest fitness buffer I can for myself and inspire those I love and my community at large to do the same. 

Our healthcare system is designed (with rare exceptions, but I know some of you would want a recommendation) to treat us when we are sick and/or injured and return us to a state of “wellness,” which essentially means not being sick or injured.

It is up to us to get ourselves to a state of fitness, which I view as optimal health so that we can handle setbacks like illness or injury and recover well.

Think of it this way:

Scenario #1: A person in their late 40s has biomarkers that indicate a risk for diabetes and high blood pressure. They don’t work out regularly and get winded walking up a flight of stairs. Their nutrition consists of lots of processed (nutrient poor) convenience foods, and they often don’t consume enough total calories in a day.

Scenario #2: A person in their late 40s with optimal biomarkers, works out regularly lifting weights and doing varied conditioning and climbs stairs without feeling winded. They mainly eat minimally processed (nutrient-dense) foods and ensure they consume enough food to support their activity.

According to our healthcare system, both are considered “well,” indicating that there is nothing acutely wrong to be treated. But who of the two is likely fit enough to endure a setback like illness or injury? 

If both individuals were to fall ill, who do you think would have a better outcome, needing less time off work, recovering faster, and enjoying life more quickly?

This is where relying on your “fitness buffer” becomes crucial. Having a substantial buffer enables better recovery and healing with the assistance of medical professionals.

This becomes increasingly vital as we age. In our 20s and early 30s, we may get by with a smaller buffer (emphasis on might). However, if we consider these individuals at 80, it could mean the difference between ending up in a nursing home with a complete loss of independence and a life expectancy of less than a year, versus spending two weeks in a rehabilitation facility, returning home with full independence for another 10+ years of quality life.

Personally, my plan involves aiming for the second outcome. This means my current goal is to build as large a buffer as possible between myself and the point on the continuum where I am considered “sick,” in order to increase my chances of living a long, joyful, and independent life.

So, how can we achieve this? How can we move beyond wellness toward fitness building as big of a buffer as possible? 

We have a simple (not to be confused with easy) prescription to follow:

  • Train your body 4 to 6 days per week using functional movements at a relatively high intensity and keeping it varied.
  • Eat nutrient-dense foods in quantities that support your goals.
  • Sleep 7 to 9 hours each night.
  • Think intentionally by practicing mindfulness and celebrating personal and others’ achievements.
  • Connecting meaningfully with yourself and with others regularly.

We understand this is a challenging task, and that’s why we are here. If you are ready to progress along the sickness-to-fitness continuum and create the largest buffer possible to tackle any challenges life presents, book a No-Sweat Intro with us today, and let’s chart out a personalized plan specifically for YOU.

Already a member and eager to delve deeper? Schedule a member check-in with a coach (included in your membership) and let’s work on it together!

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